396703 To Safely Go Where No Man Has Gone before: Exploring and Producing with Process Safety
Today’s process safety practices are invariably the result of hard lessons learned by industry after experiencing major accidents. Process safety management systems are generally credited with reducing major accident risk in refining and chemical industry operations. Yet, although oil and gas exploration and production (E&P) also have the potential for catastrophic disaster, as clearly demonstrated over the years through blowouts and other major incidents, process safety management systems in E&P are not as mature. Deepwater Horizon raised awareness that prevention of major incidents requires a specific focus on process safety over and above that for occupational safety- a lesson already learned onshore by the refining and chemical industries.
The author has been involved in the application of process safety within E&P around the world for over 30 years. The paper will discuss common themes involving observed strengths and weaknesses in process safety applied to E&P operations, and some ideas on future approaches for continuous improvement.