Volume: 5 | Issue: 1

Optimized HSE Processes Central to Operational Risk Management Strategies

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Change is constant in the midstream and upstream oil and gas industry, and with change comes an increase in operational risk. As companies acquire and develop assets around the world, they must reduce their risk exposure by improving operational integrity, an expert said.

In a webinar, “Increasing Operational Integrity Through Optimized HSE Processes and Systems Integration,” Chelsea Lackey discussed how health, safety, and environment (HSE) planning helps drive an organization’s operational risk management strategy. Lackey is a leader of corporate HSE analytics and systems at Anadarko. The webinar was hosted by the SPE Health, Safety, Security, Environment, and Social Responsibility Study Group.

Lackey divided Anadarko’s approach to operational risk management into three groups: people, process/data, and technology.      

Each group presents its own set of challenges. Lackey said that while the company strives to have people engaged in each local community in which it operates, the information and data they need to communicate with their communities are spread across many business units with varying availability. The groups’ roles within the organization, and their responsibilities in using HSE information are unclear, as is the definition of accountability for the data.

She said the processes for capturing, entering, using, and managing HSE data are informal and inconsistent, and that the hierarchies and master data sources are inconsistent. One way to improve these processes is to standardize the terminology that companies use in interdepartmental communications. Lackey said the confusion caused by using interchangeable terms can dilute a company’s message, citing an example of an information technology (IT) employee and an HSE employee using the word “report” in different contexts within a conversation.

“The IT person is overhearing queries and thinking they’re building some database, and the HSE person’s thinking about some regulatory framework. They’re using the exact same word, but what they never picked up on in the conversation is that it had two different meanings, and they never got to an end result. We need to standardize language, make it transparent, and ensure and validate that the other person is truly on the same playing field,” Lackey said.

Technological developments also may face a consistency problem. Lackey said information systems are poorly leveraged across regions, and both the acquisitions of software for compiling HSE data and the requests made by HSE groups are disjointed. Companies must account for the hidden costs of managing new technology.

She said that technology is only as useful as the processes a company develops to utilize it, and that it is important for a new technology to help companies acquire HSE data and understand the trends in the data. 

“You can have the best technology, but if no one uses it, or if it’s too complicated for the end user, the technology just sits there,” Lackey said. “So how do we, as an organization, bridge that? We have geologists. We have scientists. We have engineers. We are an industry that thrives on technology. But now we have to take that technology and turn it into value.”

Lackey said a primary goal for any company’s operational risk management strategy is to develop a central ERP system that incorporates operational data. The system should allow for flexible data reporting so that any department can use it for its needs.

Anadarko’s proposed ERP system would use data and analytics reporting to connect its worldwide business to its accounting, asset management, human capital management, procurement, HSE, and regulatory systems. However, Lackey said each company should tailor its system design to its specific needs.

“The frame of the question changes the deliverable, so understanding the demands of your organization and the different ways in which you need to see your data establishes that framework to get it into a central system,” she said. 

 

This webinar is available at https://webevents.spe.org/products/increasing-operational-integrity-through-optimized-hse-processes-systems-integration.