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21 Oct 2016

PetroTalk: The Challenges of Sustainability—A Rio Tinto Perspective

SPE recorded several presentations from the 2016 International Conference on Health, Safety, Security, Environment, and Social Responsibility held in Stavanger and is presenting them as PetroTalks. These insightful presentations were captured from experts within and beyond the oil and gas industry in order to bring the conversations to a larger audience.

Peter Harvey with Rio Tinto Diamonds and Minerals talks about the challenges of sustainability. In his presentation, he offers perspectives of what he has delineated as three key aspects of sustainability: sharing risk to deliver mutual value, collaborating to create trust, and leading through innovation.

“We need solutions that are going to work for all involved,” he said. “The crux is that sustainable practices can deliver a good rate of return for investing in them. …  It’s not just bottom-line numbers, but it’s also some of these license to operate, the intangible numbers, the above-ground risks that are so impactful when they go wrong.”


13 Oct 2016

Webinar Examines Importance of Health Contracts

A webinar on 19 October analyzed health contracts in the workplace and effective health management systems.

The webinar was organized by the SPE HSSE-SR Health Subcommittee in collaboration with the International Oil and Gas Producers Association (IOGP)  and IPIECA, the global oil and gas association for environmental and social issues.

Speakers during the webinar were Alex Barbey, international health coordinator with Schlumberger, Simon Hawthorne, vice president of legal for UnitedHealthcare Global Medical, Phil Sharples, global senior medical director for UnitedHealthcare Global Medical, and Eugene Toukam vice president of HSE for Schlumberger.

In 2015, to assist operator/contractor relationships and to help eliminate confusion about responsibilities and expectations, the IOGP/IPIECA health committee published a guideline document entitled Health Management Contract Guidelines for Clients and Contractors. The document provides guidance on

  • Health management system elements, requirements, and deliverables
  • Establishing roles and responsibilities between contractors and clients and operators
  • Health aspects related to the prequalification, bidding, and execution phases
  • Promoting transparency and effective communication on health management in contracts

Toukam and Hawthorne provided examples of real problems that can occur in the absence of a strategic contract management plan. Barbey, who was chairman of the IOGP/IPIECA health task force that produced the guideline, explained how the guidelines can help mitigate the issues described and prevent negative effects from deficiencies in contract management.

The talks are intended to inform professionals who either manage health contracts or who have responsibilities in supporting these contracts that, in the workplace, an effective health management system requires active and positive collaboration between operators and contractors. A lack of such a system creates the potential for

  • Loss of life
  • Health-related accidents
  • Injuries and illness
  • Disruptions in operations

Find the webinar archive on demand here.

6 Oct 2016

New Technical Report Examines Sharing Safety Lessons

SPE released a new technical report concerning offshore-safety data after its Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition (ATCE) in September. The report, “Assessing the Processes, Tools, and Value of Sharing and Learning From Offshore E&P Safety-Related Data,” was written by a committee of subject-matter experts (SMEs) with industry input from a summit held in April. The report is based on discussions and conclusions from the summit and is intended to provide guidance on an industrywide safety-management data-sharing program.

Summit Overview
In 2014, the US Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) approached SPE regarding an opportunity to collaborate on the development of a voluntary industrywide near-miss data-sharing framework. This framework was envisioned as a resource to enhance the industry’s ability to capture and share key learnings from near-miss events with the objective of identifying and mitigating risks. Although the collaboration initially focused only on near misses, evolving discussion resulted in increasing the scope to include a broader range of data. In the spirit of continuous improvement, a related objective was identified: to bring government and industry together to make a safe industry safer and to enhance public confidence in the industry.

Representatives from SPE and BSEE were co-chairs of a summit steering committee that included representatives from SPE, BSEE, exploration and production (E&P) operators, service companies, the US Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the Center for Offshore Safety, the American Bureau of Shipping, and the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers. Planning for the summit outlined that the scope of the data-collection and -reporting framework would begin with the US outer continental shelf (OCS). Additionally, a secondary objective was established: to consider how existing processes might be leveraged with an overarching objective to extend influence beyond the US OCS to align with other systems and requirements globally. In considering industry alternatives for developing a safety-data management framework, caution was advised to avoid creating an additional layer of reporting expectations beyond the current requirements by regulators and industry associations.

During the summit, Vice Admiral Brian Salerno, director of BSEE, shared his perspective on the importance of industrywide safety-data collection and sharing. He also encouraged the E&P industry to demonstrate to the public how a safe industry may be made safer through more open data sharing.

The discussions, expert opinions, and suggestions offered by the group of safety-data management SMEs during the summit were captured in the technical report, which was posted on the SPE website for comments and then approved by the SPE Board of Directors at ATCE in September.

Find the technical report on OnePetro here.

4 Oct 2016

Column: Risk Management at NASA and Its Applicability to the Oil and Gas Industry

On initial consideration, one might reasonably ask: What can the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) contribute to the oil and gas industry?

About 3 years ago, a senior principal at Deloitte Advisory’s Energy & Resources Operational Risk Group reached out to NASA to better understand the safety culture at NASA with the intent of understanding how that culture might translate to oil and gas operations. Very quickly, the conversation expanded to the realm of risk management.

Working with Deloitte, NASA came to appreciate the remarkable similarities between an offshore deepwater facility and the International Space Station. Both exist in extremely hostile environments. Both function in remote locations where movement of crew and supplies must be carefully choreographed. Both are extremely complex engineering structures where human reliability plays a critical role in mission success, and both have a deep commitment to personal and process safety.

It also should be noted that both have dedicated teams—the onboard crew and the onshore support experts—that live by the mentality that “failure is not an option” because of the consequences to life and the environment should a catastrophic mishap occur.

At NASA, we use qualitative techniques—such as fault trees, failure modes and effects analyses, and hazard assessments—to understand risk based on statistics, experience, or possibilities that our engineers can anticipate. Similarly, upstream oil and gas exploration and production uses qualitative techniques—such as process safety methods, barrier analyses, bowtie charts, hazard identification, and hazard and operability studies—to assess risk. At NASA, these qualitative approaches are augmented by a quantitative risk-assessment technique called probabilistic risk assessment (PRA) to uncover and mitigate low-probability sequences of events that can lead to high-consequence outcomes.

Why PRA?
The technique of PRA was developed by the nuclear power industry and initially published in mid-1975, though not widely publicized. However, the investigation of the Three Mile Island incident in 1979 revealed that the PRA had documented the sequence of low-probability events (both of hardware failures and human errors) that led to the high-­consequence near-meltdown of the nuclear core. As a result, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission has required a facility-specific PRA for every nuclear power plant in the United States.

In February 2003, Space Shuttle Columbia was lost on re-entry when a piece of insulation foam broke off from the external tank and struck the wing leading edge of the space shuttle. Recognizing that the cause of this accident was a low-probability, high-consequence event, NASA committed to strengthen its safety and mission assurance capabilities. PRA was adopted and embraced by the Space Shuttle and International Space Station programs.

A PRA creates a rigorous logic flow for a complex system. Every safety-related hardware component is captured as a node and quantitative reliability performance numbers are assigned to each possible outcome. For example, a pump can function as commanded, remain off when commanded on, remain on when commanded off, or operate at only a partial level of capability. Human actions also are captured as logic nodes that can have quantitative reliability information assigned to them. For example, a person can push the correct button within the assigned timeframe, push the wrong button, push the correct button outside the assigned timeframe, or do nothing.

A rigorous PRA also can account for common cause failures in both hardware and software. For example, if a pump fails in one system, then all similar pumps from the same lot/vendor that may exist in entirely separate systems are now suspect.

Given a high-consequence undesirable event (such as loss of hydrocarbon containment), every single path through the logic model that could lead to that event can be assessed. Should a low-probability action occur (perhaps a highly trained individual is distracted and fails to observe a change in the mud flow rate in vs. the mud flow rate out), then every other subsequent low-probability action(s) can be identified to mitigate the undesirable event.

In April 2015, I attended a conference that explored crossover technologies that might have applications to the space and energy sectors. Brian ­Salerno, director of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), gave a presentation that included an acknowledgement that BSEE would need better tools to assess risk as operators moved to deeper drilling; higher temperatures and pressures; less well understood environments; and introduced new, emerging technologies. He suggested the need for a quantitative approach to risk management.

The outcome of several meetings was a US Government Interagency Agreement between BSEE and NASA signed in January 2016, formalizing a partnership between the two organizations for 5 years. Under this agreement, NASA will work with BSEE to develop a process for preparing PRAs for offshore deepwater drilling and production operations. Together with the oil and gas industry, we will evaluate whether the additional insights of a PRA provide meaningful information for the operators and contractors as well as for the regulator, BSEE.

NASA has a document to guide in the preparation and execution of a PRA referred to as the “Probabilistic Risk Assessment Procedures Guide for NASA Managers and Practitioners” (NASA document number SP-2011-3421). The first task that BSEE has given NASA is to rewrite the PRA Guide to be relevant to the oil and gas industry. NASA is scheduled to deliver the initial version of the document to BSEE by the end of the 2016 calendar year.

Projects With Anadarko
In addition to working with other government agencies, NASA has a special mechanism for working with commercial organizations. In situations where NASA has unique facilities, technologies, techniques, or experiences, it may enter into a reimbursable agreement (referred to as a Space Act Agreement) to perform work for the mutual benefit of the Space Act partner and NASA.

Anadarko Petroleum is working with suppliers to develop various subsea equipment with working pressures of more than 15,000 psi for their Shenandoah field in the Gulf of Mexico. The director of Engineering and Technology Global for Anadarko, Jim Raney, wanted to have a set of eyes from outside the industry look over the approach to risk management being used by his team for this activity. Anadarko entered into a Space Act Agreement with NASA in November 2014, enabling NASA to engage and participate in the project.

Anadarko introduced NASA to the unique layout of bowtie charts (an integration of fault trees and event trees), to the barrier analysis approach. Our eventual assessment back to Anadarko was that all their risk-management techniques were qualitative and, while excellently executed, might not capture low-probability, high-consequence events. NASA explained its use of quantitative PRA modeling to capture these types of events.

Anadarko was open-minded to the possibility that PRA might provide insights not otherwise available through their more traditional qualitative risk-management techniques. Because the project would require a blowout preventer (BOP) with a rated working pressure up to 20,000 psi, Anadarko asked NASA to prepare a PRA for a generic 20,000-psi BOP. The work began in October 2015.

The development of the BOP PRA was a true partnership; Anadarko provided world-class expertise on the design and operations of BOPs, and NASA provided world-class modelers and data analysts. The results of the BOP PRA model were presented to Anadarko management on 28 July 2016. A final report was delivered at the end of August.

While it is not my place to discuss any facet of the work that NASA did in partnership with Anadarko, I am able to state that Anadarko followed up the BOP work by asking NASA to perform a PRA of the dynamic positioning system being considered for the Shenandoah development. The PRA for that began in June and is ongoing.

NASA is just beginning to work with BSEE and the oil and gas industry. Our hope is that the benefits of a quantitative assessment of risk will both complement the industry’s current approach to risk management as well as help with risk-informed decision making. It has worked for NASA in the exploration of space. Could it also work for offshore deepwater drilling and production operations?

David Kaplan is a leader at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Johnson Space Center with more than 30 years of experience in aerospace engineering and management. He has been a project manager for Mars hardware, a space shuttle flight controller, and managed the crew health-care equipment on the International Space Station. Most recently, Kaplan served as chief of the Quality Division at the space center. In that position, he managed the NASA Failure Analysis Laboratory, which is instrumental in detecting counterfeit parts and assisting projects to reduce their risks associated with fabrication and operations. Currently, he is involved in assessing the applicability of NASA’s quantitative risk-management techniques to the oil and gas industry. He may be contacted at david.i.kaplan@nasa.gov.

29 Sep 2016

StatesFirst Releases Induced Seismicity Primer

On 28 September, the StatesFirst Induced Seismicity Working Group (ISWG) released a primer entitled “Potential Injection-Induced Seismicity Associated with Oil and Gas Development: A Primer on Technical and Regulatory Considerations Informing Risk Management and Mitigation.” The report provides guidance in mitigating seismic risks associated with wastewater disposal wells, not hydraulic fracturing.

The primer is intended to be informational and provides a valuable overview of the current state of research and technical understanding of induced seismicity related to Class II disposal wells. The report was peer reviewed and was developed by ISWG members with input from subject-matter experts from academia, industry, federal agencies, and environmental organizations. Scientists at the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) contributed to writing sections of the report, and scientists at NETL and the Office of Fossil Energy reviewed the report before its release.

StatesFirst is an initiative of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission and the Ground Water Protection Council.

Read the primer here (PDF).

27 Sep 2016

ATCE: Addressing Human Factors Can Make Megaprojects Work

Megaprojects have become a mainstay of the modern oil and gas landscape, with more than 350 of these billion-dollar-plus facilities dotting the globe—each one designed to take advantage of economies of scale.

And, with so much at stake, both in terms of profitability and reputation, one might think that megaprojects would benefit from the industry’s time-tested management practices.

“This has proven not to be the case,” said Fuad Al-Azman, the general manager of area projects at Saudi Aramco, adding that studies show almost 65% of megaprojects fail to meet the performance goals established when the financial go-ahead was given.

Fuad Al-Azman, general manger of area projects at Saudi Aramco, said his company has adopted new management practices to ensure that its latest megaproject does not fail to deliver.

Fuad Al-Azman, general manger of area projects at Saudi Aramco, said his company has adopted new management practices to ensure that its latest megaproject does not fail to deliver.

Fuad Al-Azman, the general manger of area projects at Saudi Aramco, said his company has adopted new management practices to ensure that its latest megaproject does not fail to deliver. Al-Azman spoke about the challenges facing megaprojects during a panel session on 27 September at the SPE Annual Technology Conference and Exhibition in Dubai. He said about three-quarters of megaprojects suffer from schedule overruns, two-thirds were over budget, and actual costs are often 50% higher than the original estimates.

“Such is the state of our industry today; if a megaproject comes in at less than 25% over budget and 1 year behind schedule, it is considered a success,” remarked Al-Azman.

So what is the problem with completing megaprojects on time and on budget? The simple answer is people. This means employees, corporate management, and their governments share the vast majority of the blame—not the technology, the geology, or the environment.

Operators can avoid costly pitfalls if they focus on addressing the human-related problems that include overdesigning facility systems and introducing major changes midway through.

Al-Azman explained how his company’s attention to these issues pushed it to adopt new management strategies for the development of its latest megaproject—the Jazan Complex.

An illustration of the massive Jazan Complex under construction by Saudi Aramco. Credit: JazanGas.

An illustration of the massive Jazan Complex under construction by Saudi Aramco. Credit: JazanGas.

Still under construction, the Jazan Complex will be a 400,000 B/D refinery that features a liquefied gasification plant and a 3,900-MW power generation facility to support other developments in the remote southwestern region of the country.

This project involves 30 major contractors, 100 subcontractors, 1,000 supply vendors, and more than 70,000 construction workers. Al-Azman said the company devised a number of new strategies to manage this army of people and engineering resources.

One of them was to establish an automated database program that ties together the work that all these contractors are responsible for and serves as platform for the management teams to interface with one another. This program also generates constant progress reports, which Al-Azman said gives the management teams a “high-resolution” look at which parts of the project are on track or not.

He also said that the project team realized early on that face-to-face discussions between its numerous contractors were essential to meeting the project’s goals. To deal with the challenge of having so many people spread across four continents and many more time zones, the company established quarterly mini-conferences where 150 lead contractors meet to scrutinize agendas and ensure their targets are being met.

To ensure the Jazan Complex continues to move in the right direction, “we must strive to continue to learn as individuals, teams, and as organizations,” Al-Azman said. “Projects by their nature are very dynamic and they will not stand still. Why should we?”

Another challenge he addressed during his remarks had to do with the impact that current low oil prices will have on megaprojects going forward. Al-Azman’s advice was that with hindsight in hand, companies should build the potential for volatility into their megaproject designs.

“If you do the proper planning at the beginning, you can probably phase out what you don’t need or build a different stage later on,” he said, adding that the flexibility to reduce a project’s scope is the simplest and best way to cut costs in response to low oil and gas prices.

22 Sep 2016

Webinar Examines Unmanned Aerial Systems for Oil and Gas

A webinar set for 27 September will take a close look at the emerging use of unmanned aerial systems (UASs) in the oil and gas industry.


Balaji Ramachandran, who works in the Geomatics Program  in the Department of Applied Sciences at Nicholls, will speak on the new breed of remote sensing platforms. According to the Unmanned Systems Roadmap 2007–2032 document produced by the US Department of Defense, an unmanned system is “a powered vehicle that does not carry a human operator, can be operated autonomously or remotely, can be expendable or recoverable, and can carry a lethal or nonlethal payload. Unmanned vehicles are the primary component of unmanned systems.”

UAS are widely used in military applications that are “dull, dirty, and dangerous.” The size of the aircraft ranges from as small as 10 cm to Global Hawks drones with wingspans as wide as 70 m. Over the years, numerous terminologies have been associated with UASs—“remotely piloted vehicles,” “uninhabited aerial vehicles,” and “remotely operated aerial vehicles.”

A UAS can be equipped with a variety of multiple and interchangeable imaging devices and sensors, such as digital video cameras; infrared cameras; thermal, multispectral, and hyperspectral sensors; synthetic aperture radars; laser scanners; chemical, biological, and radiological sensors; and weather-monitoring devices. Small UAS (sUAS) platforms are ideal for aerial robotics in facility inspection and monitoring of deepwater production platforms and offshore and onshore facilities; as rapid response and assessment tools to monitor oil spills; for monitoring endangered species along oil and gas operation corridors; and for ensuring security of critical infrastructure.

Robotics technologies present an opportunity to develop reliable and deployable solutions to support business processes while removing personnel from the operating theater or accessing areas that would otherwise be difficult or impossible. Nicholls’ Geomatics Program started investigating the adoption of emerging UAS technology in the post-Katrina era for monitoring and mapping the coast. Since its inception as a research endeavor in 2005, the sUAS program has now grown into a mature component of Geomatics program instruction and research. The ongoing research projects include characterization of Louisiana barrier islands, inspection of offshore platforms, infrastructure monitoring, and precision agriculture. An sUAS certification program is being designed to prepare students in UAS-related careers.

Sign up for the webinar here.

13 Sep 2016

Report Focuses on Growing Threats of Extreme Weather, Energy/Water/Food Nexus, and Cyberattacks

Emerging physical, financial, and virtual risks pose an ever-greater threat to the security and supply of energy. The transformation of markets and business models, driven by climate-change policy commitments, are putting unprecedented strain on the energy sector at a critical time, says a new World Energy Council report. It contends that energy systems must be smarter, not just stronger, to withstand diverse emerging risks and be more resilient.

The findings come just a month before the 23rd World Energy Congress in Istanbul, where high-level discussions exploring these energy resilience issues will be led by Satoru Katsuno, president and chairman of Chubu Electric Power Company, and Juerg Trueb,  managing director for environmental and commodity markets with Swiss Re Corporate Solutions. They will look at the risks to the industry and, crucially, what policy solutions are needed to adjust to the new normal.

The Road to Resilience: Financing Resilient Energy Infrastructure, launched at the International Economic Forum of the Americas (IEFA) Toronto Global Forum on 13 September, focuses on three critical emerging risks—extreme weather events, energy/water/food nexus, and cyberthreats. It provides an overview of the Road to Resilience series developed in collaboration with project partners Swiss Re Corporate Solutions and Marsh & McLennan Companies and finds

  • Energy is the second-most water-intensive industry after agriculture, with 98% of power supply dependent on the availability of water
  • Extreme weather events have increased by a factor of four over the past 30 years; frequent and severe weather events can affect energy infrastructure across the value chain and often lead to higher demand
  • The sophistication and frequency of cyberattacks is growing and continues to keep energy leaders in Europe and North America awake at night; by 2018, the oil and gas industries could be spending USD 1.87 billion each year on cybersecurity

These threats affect both the physical structures and the capital returns that are needed to advance energy systems to a more sustainable future. Therefore, successfully managing these risks has become crucial for energy leaders globally, bringing the need for resilience to the forefront.

Christoph Frei, secretary general of the World Energy Council, said, “With accelerating energy systems integration, resilience is no longer just about returning single assets to full operation after a disruptive event. When interdependent parts of a system are blacked out, the system as a whole is at risk of being deadlocked.

“The different risks to resilience have very distinct meanings and priorities in different regions. Yet, the imperative to cope with these risks is a powerful catalyst for innovation with transformative global impact: innovation in technology, system design and management, cross-country and -value-chain cooperation, the required policies, and, last but not least, financing concepts. Securing the future investments to expand and transform the sector is the critical challenge ahead.”

Jeroen van der Veer, executive chairperson for Road to Resilience and former chief executive officer of Royal Dutch Shell, said, “For the financial sector, our resilience work highlights both risks and opportunities. Missing out on deep understanding of the shifting resilience landscape will expose short-sighted investors, while a variety of financing mechanisms are available and under development to better cope with emerging risks.”

Over 2 years, the series of reports examined the evolution of these risks and their effects on energy infrastructure and identified measures required to increase resilience of and improve the financing conditions for investments in energy infrastructure that are able to cope with these new challenges.

Key recommendations within The Road to Resilience: Financing Resilient Energy Infrastructure include

  • Smarter design of energy systems: Energy systems must be smarter, not just stronger, to withstand diverse emerging risks and be more resilient.
  • Encourage diversity within the energy sector and related industries: Diversity increases flexibility and helps to avoid and mitigate the implications of potential threats.
  • Increased private finance infrastructure: Resilience is vital in attracting a more-diverse group of investors, including institutional investors, to the energy sector.
  • Improved regulation and market guidance: Policymakers must develop clear, transparent, predictable legal frameworks to ensure resilience and stimulate finance.

A frontier session on Day 2 of the 23rd World Energy Congress, The Road to Resilience: Managing and Mitigating Extreme Weather Risk, will be held on 10 October.

Read the report here (PDF).


12 Sep 2016

Ghana’s Growth Draws Professionals to HSE Conference 

Health, safety, and environment professionals in the oil and gas industry will meet next month in Ghana for the SPE African Health, Safety, Security, Environment, and Social Responsibility Conference and Exhibition. The conference will be held 4–6 October at the Mövenpick Ambassador Hotel in Accra with the theme “Guided by History, Shaping the Future; Protecting People and the Environment in Africa.”

HSC Africa 960x960 Social Media web banThis conference is the largest gathering in Africa designed to create opportunities to network with professionals and key stakeholders and enhance knowledge in the health, safety, environment, and security practices. The 2014 conference saw more than 200 registered attendees from 17 countries and offered nine technical sessions presenting 27 technical papers. This year’s conference will present 30 papers in nine technical sessions. Session topics include

  • Overcoming security issues faced in Ghana
  • Lessons learned from infectious disease outbreaks in Ghana
  • Ensuring operational safety in the midst of volatile regulatory changes and uncertainty

Government officials and oil and gas leaders will take part in the main panel sessions on each day. The speakers for the opening ceremony and keynote speech session will be 2017 SPE President Janeen Judah, Thomas Manu with the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, and Sherry Ayittey with the Ghana Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development.

Kwame Boakye-Agyei, director of environment, health, safety, and security at Kosmos Energy Ghana, is cochairman of the conference committee along with Manuel O. Graças de Deus of Chevron.


Q: Accra will host SPE’s HSE Africa event in October. Can you tell us a bit more about the conference and why Ghana was chosen to host it?

Boakye-Agyei: This SPE conference is the largest HSE gathering in Africa designed to create opportunities to network with HSE professionals and key stakeholders globally and very much provide the platform for experts and stakeholders to enhance knowledge in the health, safety, environment, sustainability, and security practices.

This year’s SPE African Health, Safety, Security, Environment and Social Responsibility Conference and Exhibition is focused on leveraging our diverse and unique industry expertise to better understand the emerging futures of oil and gas opportunities and to build capacity while addressing the daunting operational challenges faced by the industry.

Ghana was chosen because of its interesting and unfolding history as an emerging and bourgeoning oil and gas country in Africa. Home to the famous Jubilee superfield discovered by Kosmos Energy in 2007 and operated by Tullow Oil, Ghana remains welcoming to new investors and offers a pleasant conferencing and learning atmosphere.

Q: As you know, the industry is currently facing enormous challenges, particularly from low oil prices. We have seen far-reaching cost cuts and mass lay-offs. To what extent have these developments affected or compromised health, safety, security, environment, and social responsibility?

Boakye-Agyei: Certainly, a challenging time for industry. However, safety cannot, in any way, be comprised when striving for cost efficiency. It has become evident that companies and contractors who choose to cut health, safety, environment, and security budget risk suffering serious consequences and even greater cost implications. It takes enormous resources and strategic behavior to sustain a good HSE behavior, and to cut resources mostly ends up undercutting efficient operations. Although the oil prices have plummeted in recent times, there is increasing evidence that HSE advances are being made to improve the efficiency and reduce the cost of operations. This means that competence in asset integrity, training for workforce and leadership engagement continues to be as important as always, even against the backdrop of lower oil prices.

It is interesting to know that the choices that companies make right now would determine how successful they would be able to effectively resume operations when prices pick up again. In every way, safety outcomes have a direct impact on the company’s bottom line.

Read the full interview here.

Read more about the conference here.

Register for the conference here.

9 Sep 2016

PetroTalk: The Value of Water

SPE recorded several presentations from the 2016 International Conference on Health, Safety, Security, Environment, and Social Responsibility held in Stavanger and is presenting them as PetroTalks. These insightful presentations were captured from experts within and beyond the oil and gas industry in order to bring the conversations to a larger audience.

Stuart Orr with WWF International talks about how we can begin to think about water on the resource level, saying that the value of water should be considered beyond simply its cost. He says that it is important to “focus not just on your impacts but how you are impacted by water management, because it is the ultimate shared and managed resource.”

9 Sep 2016

Safety Improvements in Unconventionals Require Situational Awareness

Past experiences with problematic situations often drive the decision-making process, and, while experience may be helpful, it can also lead to the development of biases that hamper an organization’s ability to manage dynamic environments such as unconventional projects. As unconventionals have grown in complexity, the effects of critical errors on safety and production have grown in magnitude. In order to have a strong error-management system, companies must emphasize situational awareness in their operations, an expert said.

In a presentation held at the Unconventional Resources Technology Conference in San Antonio, Wayne Jackson discussed how a focus on situational awareness can help operators improve on-site safety and operational efficiency. Jackson is president of Cougarstone Solutions, a technology company based in Calgary.

Jackson said the severity of an incident on a project is often judged less on the error that initiates the incident and more on the consequences of the incident, as an error that triggers an incident may have occurred numerous times in previous operations without incident. Because of this, he said error management should center around improving the efficiency of the manual systems and infrastructure on a project.

“As an organization, we must always focus on error reduction across the board,” Jackson said. “This is a systems problem. It’s not a problem with people and their lack of understanding or their lack of training.”

Task saturation is one of the biggest obstacles organizations face when confronted with problems, as employees are being asked to accept an increasing number of responsibilities for tasks, events, and jobs happening simultaneously on a project. Operators must be mindful of the workloads being assumed on projects. Jackson said that, when their staffs reach a point of task saturation, operators must be prepared to reassess, or even abandon, additional tasks they wish to assign.

“We have to remember, as leaders of our organizations, that every person has a limit where task saturation occurs,” he said. “At that point when task saturation occurs, something has to give, or it must not occur.”

1 Sep 2016

PetroTalk: Complexity of Water as a Resource

SPE recorded several presentations from the 2016 International Conference on Health, Safety, Security, Environment, and Social Responsibility held in Stavanger and is presenting them as PetroTalks. These insightful presentations were captured from experts within and beyond the oil and gas industry in order to bring the conversations to a larger audience.

In this PetroTalk, Will Sarni with Deloitte Consulting talks about the complexity of water as a resource, including the energy/water/food nexus and water’s current scarcity trajectory. His talk examines our relationship with water and our role as stewards of water. “I view water as a business issue, economic development issue, and ecosystem and social wellbeing issue,” he said.