Well safety

New publication charts post-Macondo milestones

Keeping to a promise made to the EU in May, 2011, OGP has produced a summary of how the industry has implemented recommendations set out by OGP’s Global Industry Response Group (GIRG).

Acting on the knowledge of more than 100 leading technical experts and managers from around the world, the GIRG focussed on major incident prevention, intervention and response.

The milestone document, Offshore safety: Getting it right now and for the long term, provides implementation updates in each of the three GIRG areas,  as well as on mutual aid agreements that transcend companies and borders.

Improving well safety

After almost a year of in-depth analysis, the GIRG determined that more reliable well safety relied on renewed efforts in four key areas:

  • Creation of an industry-wide well control incident database
  • Assessment of blow-out-preventer reliability and potential improvements to this equipment
  • Improved training and competences and more attention paid to human factors
  • The development and implementation of key international sandards pertaining to well design and well operations management

Helping to drive these improvements is OGP’s Wells Expert Committee, which has set up a dedicated task force for each of these priorities.  Participants include 20 companies and organisations from 12 countries with operations that span the globe.

Tangible progress in intervention

The GIRG’s second set of recommendations focused on the need for being prepared – improvements to well integrity notwithstanding.

This led to the creation of the Subsea Well response Project (SWRP), a consortium consisting of BG Group, BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Petrobras, Shell, Statoil and Total.  SWRP has now designed and built a comprehensive capping system, complete with subsea dispersant cabability.  The first of the four capping and dispersant capabilities is now available to the global industry via subscription to OSRL, the world’s leading oil spill response organisation.

The entire system is designed to be readily transportable by air and/or sea from one of the four OSRL-operated strategic base locations in Europe, Africa, South America and Asia Pacific.

A united effort in oil spill response

To consolidate the learnings from Macondo – and to stimulate new research – the GIRG recommended the formation of an Oil Spill Response Joint Industry Project (OSR-JIP). Its 18 member companies are now working collectively with key stakeholders around the world.  These include SWRP, the American Petroleum Institute (API), the Marine Spill Response Corporation, the European Maritime Safety Agency and a number of OGP and IPIECA standing committees and related JIPs.

For example, as the milestone document relates, one of the OSR-JIP’s key missions is to optimise the use of subsea dispersant injection.  This involves liaison with API’s Joint Industry Task Force and an OGP-managed JIP on Arctic Oil Spill Response Technology.   The aim will be to ensure maximum effectiveness with minimum use of dispersants.

Transcending companies and borders

Since Macondo, one of OGP’s top priorities has been to build a framework that will assist members in participating in local, regional or global mutual aid efforts.

As part of this, by the end of March this year a dedicated group, working to agreed principles for responding and assisting operators, is aiming to have such a proposal in place.  This is involving coordination among several stakeholders, including SWRP, IPIECA and API as well links with important service companies.

As the report concludes, ‘The upstream oil and gas industry as typified by OGP members, is in the process of transforming itself.  By implementing the GIRG recommendations, we are significantly improving the ability to prevent major offshore incidents.’

This work, together with continuing progress in intervention and response, is key to OGP members’ determination to produce oil and gas more safely and sustainably than ever before.

For a copy of the full document, click here.

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