Establishing cost-effective safety management for major oil and gas exploitation projects in the design phase

Catchpole, Roger (2012). Establishing cost-effective safety management for major oil and gas exploitation projects in the design phase. PhD thesis The Open University.



Disasters such as Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico, in April 2010, continue to blight the oil and gas industry despite a significant amount of research effort carried out by academia, regulatory bodies, and oil and gas companies to understand how safety-related incidents, especially disasters, can be prevented. While these have contributed to the discussion around reducing risk, they often lack the systemic influences that determine the value drivers affecting decision-making, and the ability to achieve continuous and sustainable improvements in safety performance. Consequently, this research aims to provide a more holistic approach to understanding the nature of disasters in the oil and gas industry, and identifying how future disasters can be prevented by establishing "more cost-effective strategies. Quantitative research was carried out to determine the type and validity of the data used to construct trends in major accident safety performance, and qualitative research was carried out to assess the key factors that influence safety performance, and whether these are effectively applied. The conclusions of this research are that the industry has not demonstrated effective implementation of an Occupational Health and Safety Management System (OH&S-MSj. Historically safety performance shows wide annual variations where trends are difficult to define and extrapolate, making it difficult to provide any significant benefit for major accident prevention. There is no evidence to indicate that moving from a prescriptive, to a goal-setting regime, has improved safety performance, and reduced the prospect of future major accidents. Disaster investigation reports have shown that the role of the regulator has been ineffective. However, the adoption of a more comprehensive, and effective approach to inherently safer designs, and the way projects are managed, have the potential to make safety management more cost-effective and reduce the prospect of future disasters.

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