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

UASC Shareholding States Vote to Back Hapag-Lloyd Merger

United Arab Shipping Company (UASC) said its six shareholding states backed a merger deal with German container shipping line Hapag-Lloyd AG at a meeting on Wednesday.

List: Top Five UK Ship Owners

Following last week's landmark referendum results, VesselsValue has compiled a list of the top five U.K.-based shipowners and their total fleet value in USD billions.

FMC's Doyle Addresses VGM Rules

U.S. Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) Commissioner William P. Doyle issued a statement on the upcoming implementation of the SOLAS Convention’s verified gross mass (VGM) requirements:   On Friday,

Education/Training

Maritime Knowledge Hub Opens in the UK

Business owners across the U.K. wanting to drive growth in the maritime sector are being urged to engage with the newly opened Maritime Knowledge Hub in Birkenhead, Liverpool City Region.

New Port Academy Liverpool Unveiled at Grand Opening

LIVERPOOL City Region has launched a new  £2.5 million maritime training academy which it believes is the only one in the U.K. to create vitally needed skills and

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

Energy

Offshore Oil Oscillations In West Africa

Global excess oil supply still looks likely to average 0.5m bpd in 2016 – sufficient, it would seem, to stop oil prices rising much above $50/bbl and therefore

BP Receives its First Venezuelan Crude Cargo under Swap Deal

Britain's BP Plc this month received a Venezuelan crude cargo from state-run PDVSA, according to Thomson Reuters trade flows data, the first since the companies

Oil Up on US Crude Draw; Brent Back Above $50

Oil prices surged 4 percent on Wednesday, with Brent settling above the psychological $50 a barrel mark, after a larger-than-expected drawdown in U.S. crude inventories.

Maritime Safety

AWO Authorizes ClassNK to Perform RCP Audits

The American Waterways Operators (AWO) and ClassNK have signed an agreement under which ClassNK will be authorized to conduct audits of AWO's Responsible Carrier Program,

Waterway Reopened after Barge Grounding

The U.S. Coast Guard has opened the Red River from mile marker 40 to mile marker 42 for vessel traffic, Monday.   The Red River had been closed due to a barge that had run aground at mile marker 41,

Lloyd's Register Extends Drilling Rig Integrity Support

Exploration begins by BHP Billiton using the Deepwater Invictus rig and supported by Lloyd’s Register’s rig integrity team. Lloyd’s Register (LR) announced it

Classification Societies

AWO Authorizes ClassNK to Perform RCP Audits

The American Waterways Operators (AWO) and ClassNK have signed an agreement under which ClassNK will be authorized to conduct audits of AWO's Responsible Carrier Program,

Lloyd's Register Extends Drilling Rig Integrity Support

Exploration begins by BHP Billiton using the Deepwater Invictus rig and supported by Lloyd’s Register’s rig integrity team. Lloyd’s Register (LR) announced it

JIP Validates DNV GL's Helica Software

A joint industry project run by DNV GL has replicated stresses measured in an umbilical subjected to tension and bending in full-scale tests, further validating

Underwater Engineering

Another Fugro Vessels Joins Largest SEEP-Hunting Survey

Fugro has deployed multi-purpose offshore survey vessel Fugro Gauss to join the Fugro Brasilis offshore Mexico, to help complete the world’s largest seep-hunting

JIP Validates DNV GL's Helica Software

A joint industry project run by DNV GL has replicated stresses measured in an umbilical subjected to tension and bending in full-scale tests, further validating

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.

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Naval Architecture Navigation Offshore Oil Pipelines Pod Propulsion 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: 0.1229 sec (8 req/sec)