Technology Focus: Health, Safety, Environment, and Social Responsibility (August 2016)
- Tom Knode (Statoil)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- August 2016
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 75 - 75
- 2016. Copyright is retained by the author. This document is distributed by SPE with the permission of the author. Contact the author for permission to use material from this document.
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In April of this year, SPE held its 25th-anniversary Health, Safety, Security, Environment, and Social Responsibility (HSSE-SR) conference in Norway. It is incredible to think about the progress this industry has made since the very first event was held in 1991. The theme this year was fitting: Sustaining Our Future Through Innovation and Collaboration. The technological solutions that have been introduced have helped us be not only more efficient but also safer and more environmentally friendly. The challenges we face now, and into the future, include more oversight from all of our stakeholders—from the governments to the public—all of whom grant us the license to operate.
We currently face the acute challenge of sustaining our performance in a low-price environment. The industry is responding by introducing proven lean techniques, to be more capital efficient. At the same time, the demands on the HSSE-SR functional professionals have never been greater, with regulations being created or updated at a rapid pace. The public has an increased focus on our performance. This means the HSSE-SR representatives in our industry must become increasingly savvy, both technically and operationally. Functional leaders must have a firm grounding in the HSSE-SR risks inherent to the operations as well as a good understanding of the business and financials. This knowledge will enable companies to prioritize and direct their focus and resources to the right places.
This issue will highlight some of the excellent work being performed in our industry. The journey to an injury- and incident-free operation has many paths, and we can see by the different approaches that progress is being made. Process safety is becoming a routine part of our structure programs and management systems. The ongoing discussions around unconventional development are driving understanding of everything from the potential for injection-induced seismicity to the role of government in regulating drilling and completions. Companies are better at integrating social issues into their overall risk picture and are working more proactively with communities to ensure their license to operate. We are seeing more focus on the emissions from our operations. Because of climate-change concerns, governments are requiring that more be done, which is driving companies to develop new technologies to help identify and fix point sources.
And, finally, there is always the human element. It once was very common to see an incident investigation in which the root cause was listed as someone not following a process. Our interactions with high-reliability organizations are shifting the understanding of human factors. At the aforementioned SPE conference, technical experts on human factors, including researchers and pilots for major airlines, discussed how organizations can take the human element into account as they build their equipment, processes, and procedures. This helps us to better look at failures (and successes) through a brain-based focus and understand how to reduce the chance, and outcome, of errors. JPT
Recommended additional reading at OnePetro: www.onepetro.org.
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