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Quality

Center for Offshore Safety Issues New Guidelines for SEMS Skills Verifications

Source: Lifeline Strategies | 5 February 2014

The Center for Offshore Safety just made public new guidelines to help the oil and gas industry prove that offshore workers know how to do their jobs safely. The Safety and Environmental Management System (SEMS) rules are very clear in saying oil and gas operators need to verify that all offshore personnel have the skills, knowledge, and experience to work safely and effectively. What has not been clear is how the industry is supposed to accomplish that.

It is a real problem, and many operators are trying to address it by requiring annual worker evaluations from contractors. But that leaves contractors wondering what kinds of evaluations will be acceptable and leaves operators without a good way to figure out if the evaluations have real meaning.

For the last year, the Center for Offshore Safety has been working on industry guidelines to help both operators and contractors. Those guidelines have now been approved and made public.

 

Study Points to Employees as Key to Industry Growth

Source: Rigzone | 31 January 2014

The theme for the energy industry in 2014 is global economic growth, and how the industry will accomplish this goal is through its talent. But this year in business will find it increasingly difficult to attract, retain and develop their talent. Skills gaps, rising costs, and tougher competition will define the energy industry’s barriers to growth this year, according to a report conducted by DNV GL.

A shortage of skilled professionals is a top worry for all regions, the report, Challenging Climates: The Outlook for the Oil and Gas Industry in 2014, noted, but especially in regions where manpower isn’t lacking but the necessary skills set is.

“This year, for the first time in more than 5 years, employees are in charge,” noted Josh Bersin, principle and founder of Bersin by Deloitte, in his predictions report. “High-performing employees will start to exert control. Top people with key skills (engineering, math, life sciences, and energy) will be in short supply.”

Produced-Water-Reinjection Design and Uncertainties Assessment

Source: JPT | 12 December 2013

Produced-water reinjection (PWRI) is an important strategy for deriving value from waste water, but its implementation can face challenges related to injectivity and safety issues. The first objective of a PWRI-design study is to supply water-quality specifications, and the second is to supply injection-pressure specifications. The objective of this paper is to detail how water quality and injection pressure are deduced when uncertainties of input data are considered.

Implementing a Process-Safety Program

Source: JPT | 12 December 2013

Between 2006 and 2009, Petronas Carigali embarked on a process-safety program driven by concerns over an increasing trend of process-related incidents. The program focused on defining explicit process-safety expectations and then putting in place the required processes to intensify implementation and mandatory compliance. Some 3–4 years into the program, tangible improvement can be felt across the organization.

 

Abnormal-Situation Management in Offshore Operations

Source: JPT | 12 December 2013

The Abnormal Situation Management (ASM) Consortium performed a root-cause analysis on 32 incident reports gathered from public documents and member companies. The analysis identified common failure categories and manifestations in these incidents. Consequently, the consortium completed three case studies on potential deployment solutions: one supporting better shift-handover communication, a second supporting better alarm-flood situations, and a third supporting better situation awareness by use of overview displays using qualitative gauges.

Column: Is the Oil and Gas Industry Serious About Asset Integrity?

Source: Oil and Gas iQ | 8 November 2013

In the wake of the Gulf of Mexico disaster, is BP and the rest of the industry genuine about wanting change? I firmly believe that the answer is yes, but another more important question remains unanswered. Are they likely to be successful in making that change? I am afraid that the answer to that question is no, not because of a deliberate disregard for integrity but because of a cultural inability to fully embrace what needs to be done.

The search for asset integrity is not new and is not unique to BP. Great progress was made in the decade after Piper Alpha, but in the late 1990s the focus shifted, even at operational level, from assuring integrity to assuring analysts that there was nothing that could remotely threaten growth and share price. Most worrying was that operators began to believe their own spin and manage assets on the assumption that everything in the garden really was rosy. Oil and gas production is a risky business and operations people know that the game is about assessing and managing risk. It is not helpful if the world has to believe that those risks just do not exist.

Texas City offered BP a unique opportunity to put things right, but Macondo points to the chance having been missed. Even after Deepwater Horizon, the approach, once again, seems to be a big hugely expensive, top down initiative which will take years to bear fruit, be unlikely to motivate staff, and may well prove ineffective.

Asset integrity relies on many people doing many things right. We all know about the importance of maintenance, engineering, inspection, data management, and the rest, but that is not the whole story. Things are often ignored or done incorrectly. Even when all the procedures are followed and everything is signed off, many problems remain. Often the only hope is that somebody spots these problems and does something. Increasing the level of audits etc. will not help because the problems still remain hidden from everyone except for those in the front line. The answer is to create an organization and culture that allows and encourages staff to manage the unforeseen problems. There is simply no other way to provide any increased level of assurance.

ANSI Launches Online Portal for Standards Incorporated by Reference

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has announced the official launch of the ANSI IBR Portal, an online tool for free, read-only access to voluntary consensus standards that have been incorporated by reference (IBR) into federal laws and regulations. In recent years, issues related to IBR have commanded increased attention, particularly in connection to requirements that standards that have been incorporated into federal laws and regulations be “reasonably available” to the US citizens and residents affected by these rules. This requirement had led some to call for the invalidation of copyrights for IBR standards. Others have posted copyrighted standards online without the permission of the organizations that developed them, triggering legal action from standards developing organizations (SDOs).

 

Tight Profit Margins Boost Internal Efficiency at Natural Gas Companies

Source: Fuel Fix | 30 October 2013

Unpredictable prices and tight profit margins are boosting the need for teamwork within natural gas companies, while competition spurs innovation, speakers said at a Houston conference on 29 October.

Natural gas exploration and production have soared as technological advances have opened up unconventional plays including shale, but the erratic price of natural gas keeps profits thin, said Andree Griffin, vice president of geology and geophysics for ExxonMobil subsidiary XTO Energy.

She spoke at the Women’s Global Leadership Conference at the Hyatt Regency Houston downtown.

Griffin said departments within natural gas companies once worked in a “siloed environment”—referring to an organizational structure in which units stand alone with limited collaboration and communication.

But she said fickle natural gas prices now require intracompany collaboration seldom seen before in energy companies.

DNV GL Releases Recommendations for LNG Bunkering

Source: DNV GL | 16 October 2013

One of the key hurdles to the increased global use of ships fuelled by liquefied natural gas (LNG) is the lack of harmonization of bunkering operations. “DNV GL is therefore … launching a recommended practice for authorities, LNG bunker suppliers, and ship operators which provides guidance on how LNG bunkering can be undertaken in a safe and efficient manner,” said Lars Petter Blikom, DNV GL’s LNG director.

Managing Water Can Improve Productivity

Source: E&P | 10 October 2013

With more than 290 bbl produced in 2010, operators need a consistent integrated plan to reduce, control, and reuse water.

In today’s world, the availability of fresh water is a growing public issue. Population growth, industrial demand, and droughts are all factors that affect its availability. Even though the oil industry uses only a small percentage of available fresh water (less than 2% in the US), regulations from federal, state, and even local organizations are having a dramatic effect on availability and cost.

Equally important is the industry’s responsibility to ensure that hydraulic fracturing operations will not disrupt communities. But is there more to managing water than just a social license to operate? Does it make good business sense in a key metric such as well productivity?

In the oil field, water is used in every aspect of drilling, completing (fracturing), and producing. There are significant costs associated with water beyond finding the water. Logistics, storage, pumping, treatment, and reinjection/disposal costs also must be considered.

Custom Designing Fracturing Fluids Enhances Water-Management Strategy

Source: E&P | 10 October 2013

The industry is becoming more creative in how it manages water to maximize efficiency in its operations while reducing environmental footprint.

Water is the base fluid—and most important component—in the process of hydraulic fracturing for shale oil and gas development in North America. With the growing demand for fracturing, oilfield service providers face significant challenges to find and use water from nonfresh sources that will work effectively with their fracturing fluids while also minimizing the impact of their operations on the environment.

One significant change in fracturing operations is that the industry needs to use more water, which requires more efficiency. As a result, the industry is constantly getting more creative in how it manages its water to maximize efficiency in its operations while reducing environmental footprint.

QA/QC of Water Blending Enhances Crosslinked Gel Completions

Source: E&P | 10 October 2013

Managing wastewater and completion chemicals removes obstacles to wastewater reuse.

In the first half of 201,3 more than 17,000 wells were drilled in the US, with nearly half of those drilled in the Williston and Permian basins and the Eagle Ford shale, according to the Baker Hughes well count. More than half of the total completions in these areas currently rely on the use of crosslinked gel as a method of increasing the viscosity of water so that it will effectively carry proppant into the reservoir.

Each of these regions is arid, and the water demand to support hydraulic fracturing programs can be a strain on local water supplies. Concurrently, operators are producing flowback fluid and produced fluid (wastewater) from these same wells, which is most commonly disposed of via saltwater disposal wells. Many operators are now seeking to reuse this wastewater as fracturing fluid, which offsets the industry’s use of freshwater resources, reduces the cost associated with acquiring fresh water, replaces the need to add potassium chloride (KCl) for clay stabilization in the reservoir, and in some cases may be a cheaper alternative than disposal.