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Hydro charged with safety violations

Officials at Norway's oil directorate are once again criticizing industrial concern Norsk Hydro for alleged safety violations at its North Sea oil installations. The company was fined last year after a fatal accident.

This time the charges revolve around a reported near-accident at its Oseberg platform. The incident occurred in February and involved a crane lift on the installation. It was reported as a near-accident, reports Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). Hydro failed to provide state authorities with "a sufficient explanation" of what happened, Anne Vatne of the oil directorate told NRK. Nor, she said, did Hydro offer any guarantees that it wouldn't violate safety rules again.

Hydro last year was ordered to pay a record NOK 15 million fine after a 32-year-old man working on its Oseberg Øst installation was hit by an iron pipe on Christmas Eve 2002.

The man was killed in the accident, and Hydro had to share responsibility with the Oseberg Øst's crane operator and his employer.