3 questions on the Wells Expert Committee
In each edition of Pulse, we publish a short interview with an IOGP colleague or Committee Member. This month’s interview is with the Chair and Vice Chair of the Wells Expert Committee: Paul Forman (bp) – Chair, and Norbert van Beelen (Shell) – Vice-Chair.
1 How is the Wells Expert Committee (WEC) working to change the industry?
Paul: The stated aim of the WEC is to improve the effectiveness of prevention and mitigation of high consequence well control events. On the WEC, engineering and operations staff from IOGP Member Companies debate well control topics affecting the oil and gas industry, as well as deliver products that can be used by the industry in service of the stated aim. The WEC acts as an interface with regulators, and is available as a resource to these agencies to progress industry initiatives. The publications, safety alerts, and the ongoing active well control agenda in the WEC, is demonstration of the influence that the WEC has had since its inception ten years ago.
Norbert: 10 years on from the Deepwater Horizon and Montera incidents, and following the issuing of the Global Industry Response Group (GIRG) report, the WEC was established to provide IOGP Members with guidance on a range of topics such as emergency response, training and competency, and emerging themes in well control, such as managed pressure drilling and well intervention. This enables all Members to be in a position to control the key risks and thereby ensure safe operations.
2 What challenges does the industry face today?
Paul: Participation in the WEC has remained strong through the recent industry downturn. The challenge going forward is to remain relevant to the IOGP Member Companies and our key stakeholders: society and governments.
The prevention and mitigation of high consequence well control events remains critical to all parties and will remain the underlying objective for the WEC. In service of this aim, it is critical that Member Companies continue to submit well control events to the IOGP database to allow for causal and trend analysis.
Norbert: Apart from societal expectations, one key element in preventing high consequence incidents is to improve how people interact with each other, equipment, and processes – this field of study is known as human performance. All the research done on serious incidents shows human performance to have been a key factor. We have spoken about this for several years, and we are now seeing attention to human performance gaining across the oil and gas industry. IOGP is playing its part through the WEC and Safety Committee.
3 What is the future of the WEC?
Paul: Thanks to the commitment of our Members, and the continued support of their engineers and operations staff, the WEC will continue to have a strong and relevant future.
One of the major projects we are looking at this year is a review of the industry’s response capability 10 years after the GIRG recommendations were published. We aim to revalidate the recommendations made in IOGP Report 464 –Capping and containment – Global Industry Response Group recommendations to reflect the current technology offers and advances in mobilization and coverage strategies.
Nobert: The issues we deal with in the industry will remain and I expect there will be emerging ones. It is my belief that the IOGP Members will continue to be served by a strong and vibrant WEC, helping to meet the challenges ahead and ensure safe wells operations.