Managing Security in Turbulent Times: A Middle East Case Study
- James Langford (Schlumberger) | Juan Carlos Lopez (Schlumberger)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Middle East Health, Safety, Security, and Environment Conference and Exhibition, 2-4 April, Abu Dhabi, UAE
- Publication Date
- Document Type
- Conference Paper
- 2012. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 6.1.5 Human Resources, Competence and Training, 7.2.1 Risk, Uncertainty and Risk Assessment
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Security is an on-going concern across the oil and gas industry. During turbulent times such as civil unrest, riots, states of emergency, demonstrations, protests or natural disasters, managing security poses additional risks that may lead to employee evacuations and disruption of business activities. This paper describes how an oilfield services company applied management commitment and leadership concepts to day-to-day operational and personnel security decisions during turbulent times across the Middle East region.
The paper describes how the company established a holistic approach to manage the additional risks associated with threat environments, taking into consideration the particularities of specific country, city and field operations. Clear priority has been given to protect employees, contractors and dependants, both nationals and expatriates.
The company has a comprehensive corporate security methodology with independent representation at the highest executive levels of the organization as well as a security standard with a quantitative approach and specific risk control measures, depending upon the risk level of the operational geography (López, 2010).
Dedicated security professionals in the company prepared threat situations scenarios in advance of such events based on the company's quantitative risk assessment approach (Watson, 2010). These scenarios were then discussed with line management on how to protect people and maintain business continuity for each potential situation. This preparation proved useful to identify significant security challenges in advance and then react quickly should such
scenarios become reality.
Anticipating and adapting security risk measures
With the risk scenarios and plans in place, establishing open communications with various external stakeholders were paramount in the decision making process for managing and updating the potential security risks. Emergency and crisis management plans were updated on an on-going basis with potential new scenarios. Managers and employees were informed about procedures should such events occur.
Communication channels were assessed and tested in advance of need such as fixed telephone lines, cellular phones, short message service (SMS) cellular phone text messaging, electronic mail (e-mail) and satellite phones. Channels were defined in advance to ensure ease of communications with employees and their families. Such channels also included the use of business systems.
Individual travel documents were also verified in advance of need such as renewal of visas or passports. Primary and secondary evacuation destinations were defined for expatriate employees and their families.
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