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The Oil and Natural Gas Industry’s Ongoing Commitment to Safety, Spill Prevention and Response

The Oil and Natural Gas Industry’s Ongoing Commitment to Safety, Spill Prevention and Response

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Published by Energy Tomorrow
The oil and natural gas industry has a strong safety record, despite a work environment that often involves heavy equipment, hazardous materials, high temperatures and high pressures. America’s oil and natural gas industry considers safety its top priority and is committed to developing the technologies, standards and best practices, and programs needed to help ensure that workplace safety is at the forefront of our activities.
The oil and natural gas industry has a strong safety record, despite a work environment that often involves heavy equipment, hazardous materials, high temperatures and high pressures. America’s oil and natural gas industry considers safety its top priority and is committed to developing the technologies, standards and best practices, and programs needed to help ensure that workplace safety is at the forefront of our activities.

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Published by: Energy Tomorrow on Jan 11, 2011
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The Oil and Natural Gas Industry’s Ongoing Commitment to Safety, Spill Prevention, and Response
The oil and natural gas industry has a strong safety record, despite a work environment that often involvesheavy equipment, hazardous materials, high temperatures and high pressures. America’s oil and natural gasindustry considers safety its top priority and is committed to developing the technologies, standards and bestpractices, and programs needed to help ensure that workplace safety is at the forefront of our activities.
 
The industry is committed to a goal of zero fatalities, zero injuries and zero incidents. Our industry takes anysafety or environmental incident as an opportunity to learn and to improve technology, training, operationalprocedures, and industry standards and best practices.
 
The
API Standards Program
which dates back to the 1920’s, provides an ongoing opportunity for continuousimprovement by, and collaboration among, companies throughout the industry, regulators and otherstakeholders, and are accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). API also providescertification services that are accredited by the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB).
 
The industry, through the
API Standards Program
, has helped create more than 235 exploration andproduction standards to maintain and improve operational safety. Eighty of these standards are referencedin BOEMRE regulations. These standards are developed under a program accredited by ANSI, and APIundergoes regular program audits to ensure the program’s integrity.
 
As an example,
API RP 75
,
Recommended Practice for Development of a Safety and Environmental Management Program for Offshore Operations and Facilities
, was recently adopted by the BOEMRE into itsregulations.
 
API RP 75
, along with other API standards and practices, help
 
industry to maintain safeoperations and establish a culture of safety, and include the following basic premises:
o
 
Encouraging intervention in unsafe or non-compliant situations, and empowering operationsmanagers and supervisors to develop solutions to safety issues and rewarding successfulperformance.
o
 
Ensuring company operating procedures are simple, clear and easy to understand and follow.
o
 
Applying good design principles and engineering and operating practices to reduce the likelihoodand severity of safety incidents.
o
 
Maintaining structured inspection and maintenance programs, applying safe work controls, regularlytesting integrity-critical equipment, and adhering to strict procedures.
o
 
Using advanced technologies and systems that alert operators to investigate abnormal operatingevents in offshore operations and facilities.
o
 
Routinely testing operating teams on myriad scenarios, including simulated product spills, fires,explosions, natural disasters and security incidents.
o
 
Correcting potential risks and determining their root causes to prevent recurrence.
o
 
Measuring lagging indicators, which record events that have already occurred, and leadingindicators, which focus on the strength of controls, to prevent incidents; including inspections andtesting of safety-critical equipment.
o
 
Working closely with local, state and federal regulators to ensure safety in the offshore operatingenvironment.Among others, critical industry safety standards include:
o
 
RP53
-
Recommended Practice for Blowout Prevention Equipment Systems for Drilling Wells
 
o
 
RP59
-
Recommended Practice for Well Control Operations
 
o
 
RP T-2
Qualification Programs for Offshore Production Personnel Who Work with Safety Devices
 
o
 
RP 14C
 Analysis, Design, Installation and Testing of Basic Surface Safety Systems on OffshoreProduction Platforms
 
o
 
RP 14G
Recommended Practice for Fire Prevention and Control on Offshore Platforms
 
o
 
Standard 65-2
Isolating Potential Flow Zones During Well Construction
 
 
 
API and the other trade associations representing the industry, including the International Association of Drilling Contractors (IADC), Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA), and Offshore OperatorsCommittee (OOC), have developed a number of standards and programs, and sponsored workshops andconferences focused on improving safety throughout the industry. For example:
 
API’s Monogram Program
provides the oil and natural gas industry with a way to identify equipment andproducts that have been manufactured in accordance with API’s drilling, production and refining equipmentstandards – standards developed with safety as a priority.
 
API’s Worksafe Program
provides industry with a
 
way to make sure their workers and contractors havebeen trained to industry safety standards. The
E&P Onshore Operations
program provides training oncritical safety issues found at onshore job sites and includes an examination covering industry safetypractices. The
Service Station Contractor Safety
qualification program identifies contractor personnel whohave passed a standardized examination covering the latest service station industry safety practices.
 
API’s Training Provider Certification Program
provides certification to training schools that deliver trainingto individuals in accordance with industry related standards and regulations. The program was developed toassist organizations in developing oil and gas training that meets the industry’s needs and to assistevaluators in judging the quality and consistency of training providers.
 
IADC’s WellCAP Program
uses quality benchmarks developed by industry well control specialists, includingAPI RP 53 and RP 59, to emphasize training in the knowledge and practical skills critical to successful wellcontrol operations and to produce competent rig crews. By constantly adapting to industry needs, WellCAPoffers the building blocks for a comprehensive well control safety culture throughout the organization.
 
API and the other oil and natural gas trade associations regularly hold conferences on
Contractor Safety
and
Safe Lifting
 
Operations
to focus the attention of the industry and regulators on items that are critical tomaintaining a safe working environment.
 
As it has done when faced with challenges in the past, industry came together to form four joint industrytask forces following the incident in the Gulf to examine what happened, what could be learned from theincident, and how such an incident could be prevented in the future. These task forces made significantrecommendations to BOEMRE aimed at reducing risk, increasing safety, and improving deepwaterperformance. Some of these recommendations involve the development of additional industry standards:
o
 
RP 96 – 
Deepwater Well Design Considerations.
 
Identifies appropriate well design methodologiescommonly used to in the industry and supplements the recommendations found in API Standard 65-2 tohelp prevent a loss of well control. It will also highlight risk and mitigation practices commonlyimplemented during deepwater casing and equipment installation operations.
o
 
Bulletin 97 – Well Construction Interface Document Guidelines.
Developed in conjunction with theIADC, this document links the drilling contractor’s safety case with the operator’s safety managementsystem. It will document how management of change and risk assessment processes will apply duringwell construction activities. It also assigns specific responsibilities for the operator's personnel andprovides a means for the drilling contractor to intervene when unsafe acts are identified.
 
In addition, API has begun the process of creating an industry safety program for deepwater operations thatwill build on API RP 75 and help to drive a culture of excellence throughout the offshore industry. Theprogram will draw on the best and most compatible aspects of safety programs developed by the nuclearand chemical industries, embrace additional aspects of self-regulation from other programs, and utilizeindependent 3
rd
party auditing to measure performance.

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