Safety
E&P | 4 November 2016

MPD Emerging as Preferred Drilling Method in Utica Shale

The prolific shale plays that span the US have been a game changer for the oil and gas industry, with technological advances and a decade of lessons learned creating more opportunities than ever to drill wells successfully.

However, these complex basins continue to present a host of drilling challenges, including uncertainty as it relates to pore pressure and fracture gradient, heterogeneous geology, narrow drilling windows, and pressurized fractures. Such characteristics increase the risk for gas kicks and losses, resulting in safety issues, high operational costs, and nonproductive time. To mitigate these hazards, operators are increasingly embracing drilling strategies that go beyond the limitations of conventional methods to provide the certainty they need to drill wells efficiently, economically, and safely.

Among the drilling techniques proving beneficial in shale plays is managed pressure drilling (MPD), a closed-loop drilling technique that enables the driller to monitor wellbore pressure profiles and rely on the system to automatically adjust surface backpressure as needed throughout the operation. The approach, which has been applied in land and offshore wells worldwide, is increasingly being adopted by operators to drill gas wells in the diverse Utica Shale, stretching across areas of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

Offshore Energy Today | 31 October 2016

Oil & Gas UK Issues New Guidelines for HP/HT Wells

Oil & Gas UK, a representative body for the UK offshore oil and gas industry, has issued new guidelines on wells with high-pressure/high-temperature (HP/HT) properties.

Mike Tholen

Mike Tholen

Oil & Gas UK said that the guidelines, published on 28 October, are a part of its commitment to continually review and improve the safety and performance of all aspects of well practices on the UK Continental Shelf.

Mike Tholen, upstream policy director at Oil & Gas UK, said, “Even in a mature basin, the high-temperature/high-pressure resource base remains an exciting opportunity.

“The Guidelines for HP/HT well design, operation, and maintenance published today have been developed by Oil & Gas UK’s Wells Forum to share industry knowledge and best practice for the benefit of both well operators and drilling contractors alike.”

Drilling Contractor | 31 October 2016

Maersk CEO Says Well Control Must Remain a Priority for the Industry, Regardless of Economic Landscape

Although the downturn is forcing drilling contractors to stack rigs and make necessary budget cuts, the industry must maintain well control competence as a top priority, Claus Hemmingsen, chief executive officer (CEO) of Maersk Drilling, said. Hemmingsen, who also serves as group vice CEO of A.P. Moller-Maersk, gave the keynote address at the 2016 International Association of Drilling Contractors Well Control Europe Conference in Copenhagen on 19 October.

Maersk Drilling CEO Claus Hemmingsen urged companies to share their knowledge and experience with one another in order to improve safety for everyone. Hemmingsen delivered the keynote speech at the 2016 IADC Well Control Europe Conference in Copenhagen on 19 October.

Maersk Drilling CEO Claus Hemmingsen urged companies to share their knowledge and experience with one another in order to improve safety for everyone. Hemmingsen delivered the keynote speech at the 2016 IADC Well Control Europe Conference in Copenhagen on 19 October.

“We must take any opportunity we can to learn from each other and take advantage of the broader industry performance, including the mistakes that we make, to ensure that we will not repeat those mistakes and expose people, environment and economic interest to accidents,” Hemmingsen said.

He warned that the industry will likely have to grapple with this downturn for at least another 18 to 24 months, even though oil prices have climbed higher from the USD 20s seen in the first quarter of this year.

“We are in for the extended downturn, and we better strap in and buckle up because it’s going to be a long and bumpy ride,” Hemmingsen said. At Maersk Drilling, four out of every 10 rigs in its fleet are idle. “We have had to adjust our oil business strategy to the new market reality,” he added. “Our market ambitions, our growth plans, and our revenue forecast strategies have all been radically modified to weather the storm and acclimate ourselves to the new normal. However, we have not and will not adapt our strategic goal of achieving and sustaining zero incidents.”

The Denver Post | 31 October 2016

Concerned About Hydraulic Fracturing Safety? Look at the Numbers

Even though domestic energy production has reached all-time highs, the industry’s safety record is improving. From 2003 to 2013, the onshore energy workforce doubled in size, and the number of drilling rigs increased by 71%. Between 2005 and 2014, meanwhile, the injury and illness rate for the US oil and natural gas industry fell 41%.

Glenn Rolbiecki works on a drilling crew at an Anadarko Petroleum site near Dacono, Colorado, on 19 May 2014. Oil and natural gas development has fewer fatal injuries than construction, transportation and warehousing, agriculture, forestry, government, manufacturing, and leisure and hospitality, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Credit: RJ Sangosti, Denver Post.

Glenn Rolbiecki works on a drilling crew at an Anadarko Petroleum site near Dacono, Colorado, on 19 May 2014. Oil and natural gas development has fewer fatal injuries than construction, transportation and warehousing, agriculture, forestry, government, manufacturing, and leisure and hospitality, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Credit: RJ Sangosti, Denver Post.

Do workers suffer injuries on the job? Of course they do. But compared to other industries, oil and gas companies are among the safest businesses to work for—despite the big rigs and heavy machinery involved in production. In 2014, the oil and gas sector averaged 2.1 injuries and illnesses for every 100 workers. That’s significantly lower than the national average of 3.2 per hundred.

The industry’s safety record is no accident. Consider the wide array of training and certification programs that energy employees complete. That process relies on a detailed curriculum that includes hands-on training with equipment and exams on critical safety information.

Of course, some reply, as the technologies employed by energy firms grow more sophisticated, safety measures can become obsolete or insufficient. This is certainly true, which is why the energy sector is constantly issuing new standards and upgrading existing ones.

Reuters | 25 October 2016

Southern California Gas Tests More Wells at Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Facility

Southern California Gas (SoCalGas) completed safety tests on more wells at its Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility in Los Angeles, which shut in October 2015 following a massive methane leak, according to a report from the utility made public on 24 October.

SoCalGas did not say when it would be ready to seek state regulatory approval to inject gas into the field.

Under state law, SoCalGas cannot inject fuel into the field until the California Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) approves the company’s testing of the 114 wells at the facility to ensure their safety.

SoCalGas is owned by California energy company Sempra Energy . Aliso Canyon is the biggest of its four storage fields. It supplies gas to homes and businesses in Southern California, including power plants and refineries.

In its latest report to DOGGR, SoCalGas said 28 wells have passed all safety tests, five awaited test results, and 81 were temporarily taken out of operation.

All wells must either pass all tests or be taken out of service before DOGGR can call a public meeting. Since DOGGR must give the public 15 days notice before a meeting, SoCalGas cannot start injecting gas into Aliso Canyon until some time in mid-November at the earliest.

LinkedIn | 25 October 2016

Column: Macondo in Context

BP’s Macondo is on everyone’s mind again with the release of the “Deepwater Horizon” movie.

Ritchie

Ritchie

The consequent loss of life and property and environmental damage weigh heavily on all of us who work in the oil and gas industry. Many millions of dollars and man hours have been consumed analyzing the chain of events that ultimately led to the disastrous outcomes, implementing preventive measures and preparing to manage the consequences should a similar incident occur in the future. Vast quantities of ink, both real and virtual, continue to be expended on Macondo, and numerous conferences have been held by august institutions such as SPE, IADC, and COS focusing on the prevention of a similar event.

Without diminishing the magnitude of Macondo-related losses, there is a context to the incident that many of us in the industry have lost sight of: in the United States alone more than 500 people have been killed in the oil and gas sector since Macondo occurred in 2010.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) collects data on workplace fatalities, classified by industry. This data reveals that, every year, significant numbers of workers are killed in the BLS categories of oil and gas extraction, drilling oil and gas wells, and support activities for oil and gas operations.

Drilling Contractor | 24 October 2016

Noble: Human Factors Training Must Be Embedded Into Technical Training

On a drilling rig, employees are regularly challenged to apply both their technical knowledge and nontechnical human factors skills at the same time. Therefore, it is important that human factors training be integrated into technical training from the very beginning. At the 2016 IADC Human Factors Conference in Galveston on 4 October, Tony Willis, director of leadership and talent management at Noble Drilling, said the contractor has built human factors into training for all employees, from new-hires to leadership. In this video from the conference, Willis explains how Noble is embedding human factors into its technical training. He also explains the importance of ensuring all employees, no matter how long they have been on the job, are trained on human factors.

 

 

Rigzone | 21 October 2016

Oil, Gas Company Lends Support to Driver Safety Initiative

The Permian Basin—long a province of oil and gas activity—has enjoyed a recent surge of interest from oil and gas companies seeking to enter one of the few places in North America where drilling wells is still profitable. But this surge in activity has also brought challenges, such as more traffic on local roadways.

A new program aims to reduce the number of injuries and deaths on Permian Basin roadways to zero.

A new program aims to reduce the number of injuries and deaths on Permian Basin roadways to zero.

The Permian is not alone in this trend. The surge in US unconventional exploration and production not only inflicted wear and tear on roads in communities not used to heavy traffic but also resulted in driver injuries and even fatalities.

To address this issue, the Permian Road Safety Coalition (PRSC) launched Goal Zero, an industry- and communitywide collaborative effort to have one day without road-related injuries or fatalities in the Permian Basin. To kick off the initiative, the PRSC held a community rally on 13 October in Midland, Texas. The rally was followed by a road safety forum that included transportation presentations, industry best practice sharing, and safety demonstrations, PRSC said.

OSHA | 20 October 2016

OSHA Updates Guidelines for Health and Safety Programs

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on 18 October released its Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs to help employers establish a methodical approach to improving safety and health in their workplaces.

The recommendations update OSHA’s 1989 guidelines to reflect changes in the economy, workplaces, and evolving safety and health issues. The recommendations feature a new, easier-to-use format and should be particularly helpful to small- and medium-sized businesses. Also new is a section on multiemployer workplaces and a greater emphasis on continuous improvement. Supporting tools and resources are included.

The programs are not prescriptive; they are built around a core set of business processes that can be implemented to suit a particular workplace in any industry. OSHA has seen them successfully implemented in manufacturing, construction, health care, technology, retail, services, higher education, and government.

Key principles include: leadership from the top to send a message that safety and health is critical to the business operations; worker participation in finding solutions; and a systematic approach to find and fix hazards.

“Since OSHA’s original guidelines were published more than 25 years ago, employers and employees have gained a lot of experience in how to use safety and health programs to systematically prevent injuries and illnesses in the workplace,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health David Michaels. “We know that working together to implement these programs will help prevent injuries and illnesses, and also make businesses more sustainable.”

Greasebook | 19 October 2016

Column: Hail Mary, Full of Grace, Blessed Is Your Hardhat … .

When my father was in Vietnam, he had the nose of his F-105 Thunderchief fighter jet blown off flying missions well into North Vietnam airspace. He looked down at his feet and saw open air underneath them. His survival and the ability to get that plane flown back to friendly territory, south of the Mekong River, was 100% dependent on his training.

Republic F-105D in flight with full bomb load. Credit: US Air Force.

Republic F-105D in flight with full bomb load. Credit: US Air Force.

And herein lies the message this week: We all have safety training and classes on how to perform maintenance and a host of other do’s and don’t’s every month. There’s even more if you happen to be a company pumper.

I swear, if I’ve heard lockout/tagout once, I’ve heard it 60,000 times. Wearing a hardhat is said so much that the phrase swims in my head. It even pops up when I’m saying the Rosary.

“Hail Mary, full of grace, blessed is your hardhat.” No, wait, that’s not how that goes.

And yet, how many of us climb a tank to gauge it while blabbing into our cell phones?

How many of us decide it’s too hot to wear our hard hats?

How many of us blow down a compressor and don’t allow enough time for the gas to clear before restarting the engine?

I have done this, and just a note here, so did a good friend of mine, and he blew himself up. He lived but was burned badly.

Here’s one you have probably never done: putting oil in a pumping unit without clutching the unit and putting the brake on. Yep, I’m guilty, too.

What I’m getting at is that there is a reason those things are said, said again, and said one more time by our company men and corporate leaders.

As I have aged, maybe because I’m more aware of my mortality, I take 30 seconds now before I do anything on my units and ask myself, “What could happen if I do this?”

It has saved my life.

DNV GL | 18 October 2016

DNV GL Seeks To Build Joint-Industry Project Around Safety Knowledge Sharing

 

DNV GL is inviting industry partners to join a joint-industry project (JIP) to identify and have access to updated trends based on a broad range of data, including failure mechanisms, root causes, materials, and equipment. The benefit for the industry will be a systematic approach to capturing and sharing lessons from past failures and for the JIP partners to exchange experiences.

bergenoffice

A new laboratory at DNV GL’s Bergen, Norway, offices will aid a proposed knowledge-sharing joint-industry project. Credit: DNV GL.

The organization said it will call for an industry meeting in November 2016 to provide further information around the failure and root-cause analyses development program and the opportunities to join the JIP.

“DNV GL has conducted many of the major failure and root-cause analyses both on the Norwegian Continental Shelf and globally, including the forensic examination of Deepwater Horizon blowout preventer in 2011,” said Elisabeth Tørstad, chief executive officer for DNV GL Oil and Gas. “Our laboratories are key assets for DNV GL together with acknowledged experts within key disciplines for the oil and gas industry.

“Supporting our global laboratory network, the DNV GL technology center for materials, corrosions, coatings, offshore mooring, and lifting in Bergen has new laboratory premises with superior infrastructure so that our customers can have standard or tailored tests to suit their needs and get test results faster,” she said.