Kielland memorialThe Auditor General’s investigations into the government’s handling of the Alexander L. Kielland accident.

Was it possible to inspect the D6 brace at sea?

Sæd is said to have wanted to inspect the wet braces on the Kielland in august-september of 1979, but it was not done due to missing permissions from Phillips Petroleum.
Written by Norwegian Petroleum Museum
- Plattformlegg D til Alexander L. Kielland i sjøen etter ulykken i mars 1980. I front stag D6 med hydrofon innfestet. Plattformlegg D ble revet av plattformen i forbindelse med ulykken.

The D-6 bracing, where the rupture occurred, was a “wet” brace that usually lay beneath sea leveland was filled with seawater. During an underwater inspection of the braces, the rig had to be raised above the water by deballasting. Additionally, the walkway to the Edda platform had to be raised. The braces then had to be flushed clean before they could be examined. According to engineer Christen Magne Jensen at Stavanger Drilling, conducting such an inspection in open sea carried risks. 

Tormod Wigestrand who worked as a control room operator on Kielland, mentioned that this was done; he raised and lowered the rig many times while they were at sea.[REMOVE]Fotnote: Tungland E.M., Solbakken M.S., Kongsnes E. (2020) Kielland, basert på historien til de som var der. s. 263. Kiellandnettverket., There is however no documentation stating that this was done specifically to inspect the relevant braces. 

It’s said that Platform Manager Torstein Sæd wanted to inspect the wet braces on Kielland in August-September 1979, but this wasn’t carried out as they didn’t obtain the necessary permissions from Phillips Petroleum. This emerged during the trial in 1986 through a statement from Leif Barkved, a former technical manager at Stavanger Drilling. Read Barkved’s statement here: 

Scanned material: Pa 1503 – Stavanger Drilling AS, SAST/A-101906/Da/L0001: Alexander L. Kielland – Restriction case Stavanger City Court, 1986, p. 840 – Scanned archives – National Archives ( 

Barkved believed that his statements were misinterpreted and couldn’t be used that evidence for Phillips Petroleum concealing anythig or that Sæd had feared an accident. This surfaced in an article in Stavanger Aftenblad in May 1989 where he stated:

“I am not aware that the former platform manager on ‘Kielland’ was afraid of an accident, and I have never heard before that the petroleum company Phillips refused to cooperate in the investigation of ‘Kielland’. Things have been attributed to me that I have never said.” 

As a result, the claim regarding cracks was not further investigated after the trial in 1986. You can find the entire newspaper article where Barkved makes these statements here: Skanna materiale: Pa 1503 – Stavanger Drilling AS, SAST/A-101906/Da/L0001: Alexander L. Kielland – Begrensningssak Stavanger byrett, 1986, s. 601 – Skanna arkiver – Arkivverket ( 


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