SPE International Conference on Health, Safety and Environment in Oil and Gas Exploration and Production,
12-14 April 2010,
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Environmental management practice over the past 30 years has generally used
systems based on the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) quality management approach.
Internal stakeholders have been engaged in the process through targets or
objectives often applied in a top-down manner through the organization.
While this approach continues to be practiced, it has important limitations.
First, recognition of local initiatives and achievements can be difficult,
especially in large or geographically dispersed organizations. Second, external
stakeholders may not accept reaching organizational objectives as an indication
of environmental achievement, or best practice. Third, internal stakeholders
may not always be sufficiently motivated by a management-by-objectives
This paper describes a program developed to overcome these limitations and
examines the importance of communications to further drive environmental
performance improvements within an oilfield services company.
Initially sourcing material from established health, safety and environment
(HSE) recognition programs and from management recommendations, an
environmental case study project was launched. Each case study describes a
unique example of an environmental practice that reflects the realities of
environmental performance improvements and offers a structured way of thinking
about both direct and indirect improvements—challenge, solution/process,
results. Topics include resource efficiency, waste reduction, recycling and
local compliance programs, among others and increasingly individuals are named
to highlight the important role everyone can play.
In order to reach the broadest possible audiences who wish to know about these
practices, a wide range of communication channels have been used including
internal websites and direct presentations to selected audiences. Case studies
are intended for an audience comprising both internal and key external
Two years into the program, as awareness increased, environmental case study
contributions have increased from locations worldwide. This has incentivized
improved environmental performance by sharing knowledge and indicating
direction as well as recognizing individuals and teams. Further, the case study
library has shown that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts and that
the improvement journey is made up of many small steps.
Over the past 30 years environmental management practice has favored process
improvement systems based on the quality management approach known as
Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA). In the PDCA process, internal stakeholders are
engaged through objectives applied by managers throughout the organization in a
top-down manner (Deming, 1986).
Invented by William Deming, an American statistician and professor, the PDCA
continuous improvement approach to organizational management was adopted for
health, safety and environment (HSE) programs in the 1970s. The approach
continues to enjoy widespread use in many industries and forms the basis of the
HSE management system in the oilfield services company referred to in this
paper (Sealy, 2005).