Petroleum Safety Authority Norway | 27 April 2017

Safety Challenges Across National Borders

The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway’s participation in international arenas for interagency cooperation shows that current challenges in the petroleum industry are common to most countries.

 International Regulators’ Forum (IRF)
This forum is a meeting place for the heads of agencies with official responsibility for health, safety, and the environment in the petroleum activities of Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, the UK, and the US.

At the annual meeting in October 2016 in Auckland, New Zealand, the countries reported on important ongoing matters and outlooks. Discussions of the various topics clearly show that many of the safety challenges are common to most countries. Safety in a low-price scenario is one of the key topics of the discussions.

North Sea Offshore Authorities Forum (NSOAF)
Like the IRF, the NSOAF is a forum for the heads of the safety authorities, in this case of the countries surrounding the North Sea.

As with the IRF, the cooperation here demonstrates the commonality of many of the problems. Some of these are more specific than for the IRF, in that the North Sea countries have particular challenges relating to environmental concerns in the North Sea and the High North.

Arctic Offshore regulators Forum (AORF)
This is a cooperative forum for the safety authorities in the Arctic countries, with active participation from Canada, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and the US. Its purpose is to discuss and evaluate safety-related threats and opportunities in the High North, in order to promote a high level of safety in petroleum activities in the Arctic.

Read the full story here.

Bloomberg | 27 April 2017

Anadarko Shares Fall After Colorado Blast Prompts Well Closings

Anadarko Petroleum dropped the most since August after the oil and natural gas explorer said it will shut more than 3,000 Colorado wells as part of an investigation into a deadly house explosion.

A Frederick-Firestone firefighter rolls up a hose in front of a burned out home 18 April 2017 in Firestone, Colorado. Credit: Andy Cross/Denver Post via Getty Images.

Shares slipped as much as 5.6% to USD 56.59 in New York trading, their biggest intraday slide since 1 August, and were down 4.8% to USD 57.07 as of 10:15 a.m. in New York on 26 April. Anadarko will close and inspect the wells as a precaution after the 17 April blast, The Woodlands, Texas-based driller said in a statement on 26 April. Colorado authorities said they have yet to determine a cause for the tragedy.

The explosion just north of Denver in Firestone, Colorado, killed two people. While the closed wells represent a small fraction of Anadarko’s total production, “investors may be concerned by potential regulatory blowback against the industry,” analysts at Houston investment bank Tudor Pickering Holt & Co. said in a note to clients on 27 April.

Read the full story here.

The Associated Press | 7 April 2017

Thousands of Defects Found on Oil Train Routes

Government inspections of railroads that haul volatile crude oil across the United States have uncovered almost 24,000 safety defects, including problems similar to those blamed in derailments that triggered massive fires or oil spills in Oregon, Virginia, Montana, and elsewhere, according to data obtained by The Associated Press.

In this 1 May 2014 file photo, survey crews in boats look over tanker cars along the tracks where several CSX tanker cars carrying crude oil derailed and caught fire along the James River near downtown Lynchburg, Va. Credit: Steve Helber/AP.

The safety defects were discovered during targeted federal inspections on almost 58,000 miles of oil train routes in 44 states. The inspection program began 2 years ago following a string of oil train accidents across North America, including a 2013 derailment in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, that killed 47 people.

Federal regulators said the inspections resulted in 1,118 violation recommendations, prompting railroads to become more responsive to concerns raised by track inspectors and to improve safety.

Problems identified by federal inspectors included worn rails and other equipment; bolts meant to hold tracks in place that were broken, loosened, or missing; and cracks in steel bars joining sections of track. They also noted failures by railroads to quickly fix problems identified through inspections.

Such issues are not uncommon across the nation’s 140,000-mile freight rail network. But they’ve received heightened attention after rail shipments of crude oil increased and the number of major derailments spiked following a surge in domestic energy production.

Read the full story here.

IOGP | 4 April 2017

New Standard Integrates Safety Into Design

The oil and gas industry has always recognized that facility design heavily influences the likelihood and consequences of major incidents, and, since Piper Alpha in 1987, considerable effort has gone into preventing further tragedies. Despite these improvements, however, there have still been more than 60 fatalities as a result of fires and explosions on offshore installations such as the accidents on Deepwater Horizon, Bombay High, Abkatun A, and Gunashili No 10.

However, despite a worldwide focus on improving offshore safety, there had never been an international standard to guide project managers to integrate safety and environmental protection into the overall design process.

Now there is. The December 2016 publication of International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 17776:2016, Major Accident Hazard Management During the Design of New Installations, was the work of an International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (IOGP) group of specialists in offshore safety, led by Nigel Savage with Shell.

It was a major collaborative exercise. The extended project team—working under IOGP’s standards solution put in place for ISO work—consisted of more than 20 members. Consultation on the draft document generated more than 300 high-quality comments and suggestions.

Read the full story here.

IOGP | 4 April 2017

Five Years On: Oil Spill Project Achieves Industry ‘Step Change’

After 5 years, the Oil Spill Response Joint Industry Project (OSR-JIP) is coming to a close.

Founded in the aftermath of the Macondo and Montara accidents, the JIP was a key initiative of the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers’ Global Industry Response Group (GIRG), which focused on major incident prevention, intervention, and response.

As part of its remit, the OSR-JIP produced

  • Twenty-four good practice guides (GPGs), covering response, strategy, preparedness, and impacts. These replaced the IPIECA Oil Spill Report Series published between 1990 and 2008.
  • Eleven technical and research reports, developed to communicate technical good practice or to make it accessible to external parties. Subjects included work on dispersant licensing and approvals, dispersant logistics, in situ burning equipment, post-spill monitoring, oil spill response preparedness for offshore installations, oil spill removal organization assessment, and volunteer management case studies.
  • Eleven small research projects to find better methods for comparing the efficiency of dispersants against various types of crude and to determine aspects of response such as residue characterization from in situ burning operations.
  • Several outreach and communication materials. Among these are simple videos/animations, presentations for a variety of audiences, and materials for company use in-house. A Confident Ambassador program trained hundreds of industry staff worldwide to raise awareness of progress in oil spill response.

Read the full story here.

BP | 21 March 2017

Video: Helicopter Downdraft Dangers

This video highlights the risk of helicopter downdraft, which is present when an aircraft is in close proximity to an installation. Downdraft exposure areas are explained along with procedures the installation can implement to mitigate the risk of approaching and departing helicopters.

Weatherford Brazil Facility Achieves API Q2 Certification

Weatherford International announced that its facility in Macaé, Brazil, has received API Specification Q2 certification. To gain certification, a facility must demonstrate a robust quality management system that assures personnel competency, risk assessment, contingency planning, and other key elements.

The Weatherford facility in Macaé, Brazil, has achieved API Specification Q2 certification. Credit: Weatherford.

The Macaé facility manufactures, services, supplies, installs, inspects, and distributes parts, equipment, and accessories used for oil and gas exploration and production. These products are used in formation evaluation, drilling, completion, intervention, and artificial lift operations throughout the country.

Read the full story here.

Read more about API Specification Q2 here.

Effective Software | 2 March 2017

Column: New EU Regulation on PPE Expected in 2018

The Health and Safety Executive reports that around 20,000 workers are suffering from work-related noise-induced hearing loss at any stage. When you consider those who have retired, the picture is even worse, with more than 70,000 people suffering from hearing loss caused by current or previous work.  Many more people face retirement unable to have a conversation in a noisy room.

The frustration with noise-induced hearing loss is that it is straightforward to prevent—don’t expose people to noise and they won’t lose their hearing or suffer from tinnitus. As with other hazards, reducing exposure should start by eliminating sources of noise, but, once an employer has bought quieter tools and provided collective means of protection, if there is a residual risk of hearing damage, hearing protection is essential. While legislation defines action and limit values, employers should remember the overall requirement that the risk of noise exposure is reduced to as low a level as is reasonably practicable.

Under the 2002 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Regulations (which implemented the earlier 1989 EU directive), three categories of PPE were defined. Tighter controls were expected of PPE defined as “of complex design intended to protect against mortal danger or against dangers that may seriously and irreversibly harm health” with the hazard groups to which this applied listed. These hazard groups included respiratory hazards, ionizing radiation, high and low temperature environments, electrical risks, and falls from height.

In March 2016, a new EU regulation on PPE was published that will come into force in April 2018. Note that April 2018 is before the anticipated earliest BREXIT date of March 2019, hence these new EU regulations will apply in the UK next year.  Even post-BREXIT, it is likely that the new requirements will be reflected in UK law through the Great Repeal Bill.

Read the full column here.

PSA | 24 February 2017

PSA Director General Urges Industry To Focus on Safety

PSA director general Anne Myhrvold has called on Norway’s petroleum industry to get safety developments back on track. “Words must become deeds,” she said. “The negative trend is going to be reversed, and we haven’t much time.”


The PSA has set an ambitious goal for 2017, which will require an extensive collective effort by the whole industry—reversing the trend.

Myhrvold explains the background for this choice of main issue for the year as follows: “We have a high level of health, safety, and the environment in this industry. There’s no doubt about that.

“Overall, however, we see that developments in the past 2 years have been characterized by safety challenges and serious events.

“Cost cuts appear to be a contributory factor. Now’s the time to reverse this trend.”

Read the full story here.

LinkedIn | 21 February 2017

Column: Safety Leadership Explained by Former Alcoa CEO Paul O’Neill (Video)

In 1987, Paul O’Neill gave his first speech to shareholders as chief executive officer (CEO) of Alcoa. What did he talk about? He talked about safety.

“Every year, numerous Alcoa workers are injured so badly that they miss a day of work,” O’Neill said. “Our safety record is better than the general American workforce, especially considering that our employees work with metals that are 1,500 degrees and machines that can rip a man’s arm off. But it’s not good enough. I intend to make Alcoa the safest company in America. I intend to go for zero injuries.”

The audience was bewildered. As Charles Duhigg relays in the Power of Habit, a furtive hand went up, asking about inventories.

“I’m not certain you heard me,” O’Neill said. “If you want to understand how Alcoa is doing, you need to look at our workplace safety figures.”

For the new CEO, safety trumped profits.

This video is from his presentation to the technical organization leadership of a consumer packaged goods company in 2012.


Sky-Futures | 16 February 2017

Sky-Futures Awarded 3-Year Global Contract To Inspect Eni Facilities

Sky-Futures, a drone-based technology company, has been awarded a 3-year contract to inspect Eni facilities globally.

Eni operates in 66 countries. This global contract is the first of its kind between a drone-based technology business and an international oil and gas company and represents a significant shift in the oil and gas market.

James Harrison, chief executive officer and cofounder of Sky-Futures, said, “By partnering with Eni, we can further enhance the benefits on offer by analyzing and forecasting operational issues before they happen.”

Sky-Futures offers drone data capture, inspection analysis, and visualization technology, enabling clients to operate more safely, efficiently, and cost effectively. By analyzing data and delivering standardized and quality-assured reports in Sky-Futures’ Expanse software, it is possible for stakeholders to access the latest information on their assets immediately, securely, and from anywhere in the world through the cloud.

Read about Sky-Futures here.

BSEE | 16 February 2017

BSEE Inspects Hess’s Stampede Topsides

Hess’s Stampede tension-leg platform moved one step closer to production on 15 February following completion of the 5–8 February initial preproduction inspection of the topsides by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) at the Kiewit shipyard in Ingleside, Texas. Before operations can begin on any oil and gas production platform in the Gulf of Mexico, BSEE’s engineers and inspectors conduct a preproduction inspection of the topsides, which is the portion of the platform where numerous production processes take place and workers reside.

“BSEE conducts these inspections because our role is to ensure that energy produced on the outer continental shelf is done safely, responsibly, and with the fewest impacts to the environment,” explained Amy Wilson, acting district manager of BSEE’s Houma District. “Our engineers and inspectors spend 3 to 4 days verifying that all safety equipment, design specifications, and submitted drawings comply with federal regulations.”

Hess’s new tension-leg platform will operate in 3,500 ft of water approximately 115 miles south of Port Fourchon, Louisiana, with production anticipated to start in 2018. Wilson said that companies typically have items that need to be corrected after the initial inspection, similar to any construction punch list, before they can begin production. The inspection process begins at the shipyard, but further inspections occur once the topsides are attached to the production facility structure and the facility is on location in the Gulf of Mexico.

Read the full story here.