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

People & Company News

Construction of new Stockholm Norvik Port Begins

For Hutchison Port Holdings (HPH), one of the world’s leading container terminal operators, Stockholm is strategically important. In April the final permit was

The Odd Trio: HMM, Maersk and MSC

In one of the more bizarre twists in the container shipping market it emerged last week that financially troubled carrier South Korean Hyundai Merchant Marine

Norwegian Unions Say 755 O&G Workers Could Strike

About 755 Norwegian workers on seven oil and gas fields could go on strike from Saturday, hitting output from western Europe's top producer, if a new wage deal is not agreed before a Friday deadline,

Education/Training

Charting the Shift of Oceanic Boundary Currents

Global warming results in fundamental changes to important ocean currents. As scientists from the Alfred-Wegener-Institute show in a new study, wind-driven subtropical

Danelec Launches ECDIS Computer-based Training

Danelec Launches ECDIS Computer-based Training   Danelec Marine has launched a new computer-based training (CBT) program for its second-generation DM800 ECDIS G2 products.

Antwerp Port Extends Partnership with DMU of China

The port of Antwerp is to collaborate with Dalian Maritime University (DMU) in northern China for the next three academic years. DMU is a prestigious Chinese maritime

Energy

Charting the Shift of Oceanic Boundary Currents

Global warming results in fundamental changes to important ocean currents. As scientists from the Alfred-Wegener-Institute show in a new study, wind-driven subtropical

Wärtsilä, Zamakona Yards Join forces in Canary Island

Wärtsilä is enhancing its service offering by participating in a new maintenance hub in the Canary Islands. The facility, operated by one of Spain's biggest shipbuilding and ship repair groups,

Norwegian Unions Say 755 O&G Workers Could Strike

About 755 Norwegian workers on seven oil and gas fields could go on strike from Saturday, hitting output from western Europe's top producer, if a new wage deal is not agreed before a Friday deadline,

Maritime Safety

Silver Ships Delivers Fire/Rescue Boat

Silver Ships, Inc. has recently delivered a 34-foot custom designed and purpose-built all-welded aluminum fire/rescue boat to the Islip Fire District on Long Island, New York.

Tanker Crewman Medevaced off Virginia

The U.S. Coast Guard medevaced an ailing crew member Saturday from a tanker off Virginia Beach.   Coast Guard watchstanders at the 5th District Command Center

Day of Seafarer: ICS Highlights Seafarers Role in Migrant Rescues

Gerardo Borromeo, Vice Chairman of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) took the opportunity today to highlight the courage that is currently being displayed by seafarers,

Classification Societies

ECDIS Related Detentions on the Rise

ClassNK has been informed by Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) that during PSC inspections it has been increasingly reported that vessels have been detained

Cathelco Supply BWT System for Cable Laying Vessel

Cathelco have supplied a ballast water treatment (BWT) system for the C.C. Pacifique, a steel barge which is being converted into a cable laying vessel for Coastal Carriers BV of the Netherlands.

Denmark Adopts Digital Ship Certification

As of June 24, 2016, ships flying the Danish flag are being digitally certified, making Denmark one of the first countries to put an end to the 100-year-old tradition

Underwater Engineering

UK First to Accept Marine Geoengineering Amendments

The United Kingdom has become the first State to formally accept the 2013 marine geoengineering amendments to the 1996 “London Protocol”, the treaty covering dumping of wastes at sea.

Orca Energy ESS to Power Fish Farm Support Vessel

Grovfjord Mek. Verksted AS (GMV) has selected Corvus Energy as the supplier of the lithium ion based energy storage system (ESS) for a fish farm support vessel called GMV ZERO.

Viscometer Helps Coating Process

Oxfordshire based Chiltern Connections specialist is a provider of conformal coating machines and associated solutions for a wide range of industrial customers.

 
 
Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Maritime Standards Offshore Oil Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Repair Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar
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: 0.1320 sec (8 req/sec)