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AIR CONCEPT: Access, Inspection & Rescue

AIR Concept

Implementing confined space rescue solution for Statoil Mongstad FCC turnaround



During the 2014 turnaround at the Mongstad Refinery, Norway, Statoil commissioned the Axess Group to enhance the existing confined space rescue procedures during inspection and repair operations of the FCCU. The plant’s reactor and regenerator were the key areas of responsibility; however, it was extremely crucial to conduct an internal inspection in these areas due to limited means of access, associated confined space risks and difficulty exiting in case of emergency.


After an intensive risk assessment and comprehensive review of the current rescue and escape plans, Axess proposed an optimal solution using the AIR concept (fig. 1). This method supports safe access to areas within confined spaces, allows refractory and mechanical inspections within the fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) unit, and provides rescue and assistance for personnel working at height.

Project Air - FCC Inspection

With Axess’ expertise in mechanical inspections in confined spaces the proposed solution was decided upon as the best solution. In collaboration with Statoil’s Fire & Rescue and HSE Department, Axess developed a safe job analysis, safe egress to all areas under consideration, and a revised rescue plan.


Prior to implementing the rescue plan, Axess designed and delivered a training program for Statoil’s internal workforce. The program included drills using rope access techniques, rolling ladders and customized work platforms, to limit the need for extensive scaffolding for work teams carrying out the mechanical tasks. Simulated worst-case scenarios were presented to demonstrate the safe methodology for escape and rescue/ retrieval of potentially injured staff.

Prior to ingress into a confined space, Axess gave Statoil’s contractors a thorough pre-entry briefing as well as specialist climbing equipment such as harnesses, industrial climbing helmets, and head torches. Axess’ safety leaders provided job-specific training focused on attention to detail, personal safety management and building confidence in the capability of the rescue team. 

As inspections and remedial works progressed, the employees eventually gained confidence in entering dangerous areas, allowing them to perform tasks more efficiently. 

Axess technician in confined area

Deployment of personnel deeper into areas requiring discovery inspection and refractory repair led to increased safety and productivity during the FCCU turnaround schedule.

Contrary to the traditional method of access, the AIR concept allowed the onsite rescue team to lower inspection personnel into areas of interest without using scaffolding. The success of this approach prompted Statoil to re-evaluate future confined space access requirements in other areas of the refinery.


Cover Photo: “Confined Space Training” by Manchester Fire is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Contact Information

Axess AS
Oscar Hanssens vei 5
6415 MOLDE
+47 982 43 600
Axess North Sea Ltd.
Units 6 & 19 Robert Leonard Centre
Howe Moss Drive, Kirkhill Industrial Estate, Dyce AB21 0GG, UK
(duty): +44(0) 7912212854
St. John's
Axess Baffin Inc.
702 Water Street, Suite 201
St. John's, Newfoundland
+1 709 758 7937
Axess AS
Kokstadflaten 35
5257 Bergen
(duty): +47 976 88 578
Axess North America Inc
15915 Katy Freeway, Suite 501
77094 Houston, TX
+1 (281) 994-0367
Ciudad del Carmen
Axess Operations De Mexico S de RL de CV
Calle Bosque de Ciruelos 180 PP 101
Colonia Bosque De Las Lomas CP 11700 Cuidad De Mexico
+52 938-152-7688
Axess AS
Koppholen 25, 4313 Sandnes
Stavanger, Norway
(duty): +47 982 43 600
Rio de Janeiro
Axess do Brasil Ltda
Rua Dezenove de Fevereiro
171 - Botafogo
CEP 22280-030 Rio de Janeiro
+55 (21) 4108-0532
Axess Petrorig Ghana Limited
3rd floor, The Pelican
8 Blohum Street, Dzorwulu, Accra, Ghana
+233 (0) 30 397 0548
Rainha Ginga
127 Luanda, Angola
+27 82 202 5266
Cape Town
Axess Africa Ltd.
1 Nares Street
7925 Cape Town
+27 82 202 5266
Axess AS
Nedre Bakklandet 58C
7014 Trondheim
(duty): +47 982 43 600
Axess AS
Grønøraveien 1
7300 Orkanger
(duty): +47 41 78 06 30
Axess AS
Filipstad Brygge 1, 3rd Floor
0252 Oslo, Norway
(duty): +47 982 43 600
Axess Offshore Korea LLC
#103 (Aju-dong Hyunjin Evervil) B1 Yang 1-gil, Geoji-Si
Gyeongsangnam-do, South Korea
+82 10 2696 2016
Axess Offshore (Mumbai)
B2-306, 3rd Floor
Kanakia Boomerang,
Chandivali Firm Road
Andheri East, Mumbai- 400072, India
Axess Offshore Pte Ltd
Nordic European Centre #05-31 South Wing
3 International Business Park
609927 Singapore
+65 6908 4174
Axess Offshore Australia Pty Ltd
304 Newcastle St
Perth WA 6000
+61 4 3373 0739
Axess Offshore Australia Pty Ltd
140 St Georges Terrace L28,
Perth WA 6000
+61 4 3373 0739
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