OTC keynote speech: Five years after Macondo: How IOGP helped rebuild trust in the industry

IOGP’s efforts to help industry recover from the aftermath of Macondo were outlined in a keynote address at the Offshore Technology Conference in May.

In order for industry to maintain its ‘social licence to operate’, society must be confident that the industry’s processes and people can be trusted, said ConocoPhillip’s Steinar Vaage, speaking at IOGP’s panel session ‘Industry. Together’.

“This confidence is undermined every time a major incident occurs,” he said.

“It doesn’t matter where in the world it takes place, or what operator or contractor ultimately proves to be responsible. Such incidents affect us all.”

That’s what happened with Macondo in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, and Steinar presented a compelling case study on how IOGP members, working together, helped to improve the industry’s reputation.

In July 2010, IOGP established the Global Industry Response Group (GIRG) to lead industry’s efforts to learn from Macondo (and other events) and ultimately rebuild trust with regulators and the public.

The GIRG brought together more than 100 technical experts and managers from some 20 companies around the world.  Most of them worked full time on the project for the better part of a year. They pooled their knowledge and experience to create three dedicated teams focused on oil spill prevention, intervention and response.

Their recommendations led to:

  • An industry-wide well control incident database
  • A Task Force on blow-out-preventer (BOP) reliability
  • Improved human factors training and competences
  • The development and implementation of key international standards for well design and operations management
  • The creation of the Subsea Well Response Project – known as SWRP – to improve intervention capabilities
  • The creation of the Oil Spill Response Joint Industry Project – known as the OSR-JIP – to improve oil spill response capabilities
  • Mutual aid agreements and framework to enable operators to access additional resources in the event of an major oil spill

As a result of GIRG, industry can show that it has learnt from events such as Macondo and Montara and has worked to reduce the likelihood and consequences of future incidents.

About Steinar Vaage

Steinar is President of ConocoPhillips Europe.

He began his career in 1988 and held various engineering positions in Norway up to 1995. From 1995 to 2000, Steinar held positions at Phillips headquarters in the US, and from 2000 to 2004 in the UK and Norway. From 2004 to 2007, he was general manager of heavy oil Joint Ventures in Venezuela, and from 2007 to 2012 managing director for ConocoPhillips in Norway.

He has served on the board for the Norwegian Oil and Gas Association 2007 – 2013, and as chairman of the board 2008 – 2013.

Steinar received his Bachelor of Science degree in Petroleum Engineering in 1987, and in1991 a Master of Science degree in Reservoir Engineering.

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