DNV GL Revisits Offshore Oil & Gas Risks

By George Backwell
Friday, August 15, 2014
Rig spindle valve release: Photo courtesy of DNV GL

In the first issue its 'Perspectives' online magazine DNV GL’s Graham Bennett points out that the Macondo incident has cast a spotlight on well control standards and the need for more consistency in training.

Offshore oil and gas activities are not, by nature, inherently safe. They involve handling large amounts of pressurised hydrocarbons and other produced fluids and gases. The industry has been improving its process safety performance ever since the Piper Alpha platform incident, in which 167 men died in 1988, but it still has far to go in effectively managing major hazard risks.

Many elements behind the fire, fatalities and massive oil spill from the Macondo field in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 had been seen before. Decision-making for Transocean’s Deepwater Horizon rig was excessively compartmentalised while drilling the Macondo well. Individuals made critical decisions without fully appreciating how essential these choices were for well integrity and worker safety. During the immediate postblowout response, many rig systems and processes failed to respond correctly as the incident escalated.

Industry has much to learn
DNV GL believes the industry can still learn much from Macondo. There have been too many major hazard incidents over the last 25 years: Macondo, Montara and Piper Alpha offshore, and Texas City onshore. Lessons are not being embedded into a risk management culture as much as we would like. Decisions needed for long-term management of risks are often replaced by shorter-term decisions on profitability.

The industry has done well to improve occupational safety performance. This contrasts with a lower profile for, and reporting of, process safety issues. Compared with occupational safety, understanding of process safety differs within companies.

Operations and maintenance people dealing regularly with incidents understand them well and know the importance of barriers to prevent them. But the people who routinely make decisions on investments in training and competence have less experience about contributors to major hazard issues. When we talk to senior management about the potential for, or the impact of, a major hazard event such as fire, blowout or gas explosion, they have not all had that experience. This makes it harder for them to picture and understand the situation.

Safety culture starts in the boardroom. Companies that pioneer in this area show greater board level leadership on major hazard issues, which is to be commended. Many oil and gas companies now send senior management teams for hazard awareness training at DNV GL’s Spadeadam Test Site to see, hear, and feel the potential impact of a major incident. We routinely work with our customers to increase understanding of key levers for success in improving process safety performance.

Regulatory responses
Regulatory responses to process safety vary globally. North Sea nations such as the UK, Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands deal with operations in relatively harsh environments. They have a good understanding of process safety and have been much quicker to react to lessons from Piper Alpha. Consequently, a risk-based approach to legislation characterises the North Sea Basin, and is seen today as a global best practice.

Australia adopted a risk-based approach several years ago. It has worked well. The US regime, for reasons including the legislative environment, has been more focused on prescriptive rules and legislation.

Prescriptive regimes are relatively easy to implement and monitor, but less effective at preventing new types of accidents that may happen in the future and are not anticipated by existing rules.

The risk-based approach, which has encouraged many operators to go further than local regulations require, has reduced risks while controlling costs. Some countries in Asia Pacific, Africa and the Middle East are yet to develop this approach. They are still formulating regulatory regimes as their hydrocarbon industries develop. However, major operators that have moved into these areas have introduced best practices from the North Sea.

We believe that the most effective offshore safety regime deploys performance-based regulation requiring major hazard reports, including risk assessments and independent verification, and is supplemented by required or recommended specific prescriptive regulation for selected areas. This view is supported by the new European Union Offshore Safety Directive (Directive 2013/30/EU).

Source: DNV GL Perspectives no 1 2014

(Graham Bennett is DNV GL’s VP and business development manager for UK and Southern Africa.)



 

Maritime Today


The Maritime Industry's original and most viewed E-News Service

Maritime Reporter January 2016 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

People & Company News

IOCs Stress on OSV Fuel Management Performance

Growing insistence by international oil companies (IOCs) that oilfield contract vessels (OSVs) are fitted with fuel monitoring systems has prompted an upsurge in

Furuno Establishes China Subsidiary

FURUNO ELECTRIC CO., LTD. announced that its new subsidiary in Hong Kong has been established and has commenced business operation on February 1, 2016.   The new subsidiary, FURUNO CHINA CO.

Edison Chouest Opening Mississippi Shipyard

Edison Chouest Offshore locating shipbuilding operations, TopShip, LLC, in Gulfport, Miss.   Gov. Phil Bryant and officials from Edison Chouest Offshore, an offshore

Education/Training

First Women's Expedition to the Arctic

Company "MyArctic-expeditions" organize the first women's expedition to the Arctic Ocean. The expedition will start on March 5 in the capital of the Nenets Autonomous

SUNY Maritime Among Top Schools for Career Placement

The Princeton Review’s annual college rankings place State University of New York Maritime College among the top 10 in the nation for career placement after graduation.

Campaign for Webb at $28 Mln and Counting

Webb Institute’s Campaign Cabinet, led by President Keith Michel ’73 and Campaign Chair Joseph Cuneo ’57 announced that $28 million (70 percent) of the $40 million

Energy

Hess sells Shannon LNG Terminal

New York-based energy company Hess has sold Shannon LNG, a proposed gas-import terminal in County Kerry, Ireland’s Sunday Independent has reported.   The newspaper

ALMACO Wins Statoil Order for 450 Cabins

ALMACO Group was awarded the contract to build 450 NORSOK-compliant Modular Cabins for Statoil’s Johan Sverdrup fixed platform at Apply Leirvik’s yard in Stord, Norway.

Oversupplied Market Eyes Floating Storage Opportunities

Brent oil price reached lows of $27/bbl in mid-January, but has recovered over the past two weeks to above the $30/bbl mark. Nevertheless, volatility is expected

Maritime Safety

Attempts to Move Containership CSCL Indian Ocean Aground in Elbe Successful

The last five days stuck in Elbschlick 400-meter (1,312 feet) CSCL Indian Ocean, the 19,000 teu vessel aground on the river Elbe, owned by China Shipping Group Co.

States Urged to Ratify Compensation Regime for Hazardous and Noxious Cargoes

The International Maritime Organization (IMO), together with the International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds (IOPC Funds) and the International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation (ITOPF),

Subchapter M: The Designated Person Ashore and You

As the workboat industry marches toward Subchapter M, and ever closer to the International Safety Management (ISM) Code, the appointment of a Designated Person Ashore (DPA) becomes more important,

Classification Societies

IMO Revises Guidelines for AIS Use

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has published revised guidelines for onboard operational use of shipborne automatic identification systems (AIS), as Resolution A.

New Offshore Vessel to be Fitted with Cathelco BWTS

Cathelco is supplying a ballast water treatment (BWT) system for a new offshore vessel built by Eastern Shipbuilding Group Inc., for Harvey Gulf International Marine, LLC.

Crowley Christens 2nd LNG-ready Product Tanker

Crowley christens second of four newly built, LNG-ready product tankers for use in U.S. coastwise trade   Crowley Maritime Corp. has christened the second of

Underwater Engineering

Australia Submarines: Japan Vs France

While Japan is confident it has proven itself the best contender to build Australia's new submarines, the French have moved to undermine Japan’s bid to build the navy’s new submarines.

European Consortium Launches Blue Nodules Project

On 1 February a European consortium launched a new Horizon 2020 project: Blue Nodules. This project addresses the challenge of creating a viable and sustainable

FUGRO Wins BHP Pyrenees Contract

Fugro has been awarded a contract by BHP Billiton Petroleum Pty Ltd for the Pyrenees Phase 3 Installation Project.   The Pyrenees development is located offshore Western Australia,

 
 
Maritime Security Naval Architecture Navigation Offshore Oil Pipelines Port Authority Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Simulators Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.3204 sec (3 req/sec)