Causal Factors and Improvement Measures Related to Well Control
- Chris Carpenter (JPT Technology Editor)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- January 2015
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 109 - 111
- 2015. Society of Petroleum Engineers
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- 102 since 2007
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This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Chris Carpenter, contains highlights of paper SPE 163775, "Risk of Major Accidents: Causal Factors and Improvement Measures Related to Well Control in the Petroleum Industry," by Elisabeth Lootz and Monica Ovesen, SPE, Petroleum Safety Authority Norway, and Ranveig Kviseth Tinmannsvik, Stein Hauge, Eivind H. Okstad, and Inge M. Carlsen, SPE, SINTEF, prepared for the 2013 SPE Americas Exploration and Production Health, Safety, Security, and Environmental Conference, Galveston, Texas, USA, 18-20 March. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
From 2009 to 2010, there was an increase in the number of well-control incidents on the Norwegian continental shelf reported to the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA). This, together with the Deepwater Horizon accident in 2010, prompted PSA to initiate a comprehensive investigation into the causes and possible mitigating measures related to well-control incidents. This paper details the findings of the study.
The PSA report Trends in Risk Level in the Norwegian Petroleum Activity (RNNP) has been released on an annual basis since 2001. The RNNP aims to measure and improve health, safety, and environmental conditions in the Norwegian petroleum industry both offshore and onshore. The project includes indicators related to major accidents, personal injuries, and working-environment factors.
The project monitors risk level through the use of a number of indicators: incident data (well-control incidents, hydrocarbon leaks, and personal injuries), data describing performance of technical barriers, maintenance data, and working-environment indicators (noise, ergonomics, and chemicals). Multiple methods, both quantitative and qualitative, are used to investigate and monitor changes in risk level. Interviews, field work, and a survey targeted at all employees on facilities onshore and offshore are used alongside more-traditional incident and near-miss reports.
Organizational details about the Norwegian petroleum industry that were fundamental to the collaborative effort that made the study possible are detailed in the complete paper.
The main research questions addressed in the present study included the following:
- What are the key human, technical, and organizational causes of well-control incidents?
- What are the most important measures proposed/implemented to reduce the number of well-control incidents?
- Is there correspondence between identified causes and proposed/ implemented measures?
- How can the petroleum industry improve its efforts to reduce the number of incidents further?
The study was conducted by an experienced interdisciplinary research team on behalf of PSA. An interdisciplinary expert group was established simultaneously within PSA. The expert group participated in the study design, ensuring that relevant literature and important problems were addressed, and followed the study as it progressed through different phases. All data were collected under a strict confidentiality agreement.
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