Offshore Technology Conference Exploring Safety, Upcoming Projects

Industry officials are reviewing lessons learned form the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill and trading notes on new technology and upcoming projects at the Offshore Technology Conference this week in Houston.

The Offshore Technology Conference, taking place in Houston this week, is tackling several tough topics. In addition to reviewing lessons learned form the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, industry officials will trade notes on new technology and upcoming projects.

One concrete solution that has sprung from the 2010 oil spill is the Center for Offshore Safety, according to the Houston Chronicle. The recently formed industry group will work with auditors, companies, and the public to limit potential hazards in offshore drilling operations.

Companies now must create “Safety and Environmental Management Systems,” which are audited and reported to the Interior Department’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement. The Center will assist with audits and publish reports that compare various companies’ policies and results.

Talisman Energy Vice President Kevin Lacy spoke at a panel about the importance of communication, and that drillers need to learn from the airline industry about safety and regulation.

“We can take some lessons from the aircraft industry,” Lacy said, reported the Houston Chronicle. “The conditions that we operate in today — in deep-water environments, in high-pressure environments — are significantly more challenging than we’ve ever had in the last 50 years in the industry.”

Most decisions these days are not made on the rig, but at onshore command centers. The importance of clear, quick communication is paramount to preventing more problems on offshore drilling operations.

According to the Chronicle, an informal audience poll found that about 80 percent of respondents said the industry is taking on more risk as it ventures into deep-water environments with higher pressures and temperatures. About 65 percent of respondents in the audience poll reported that collaboration between operators and service providers were a “could be better” or were “a major challenge” in managing risk.

“A lot of consultants are still in the pre-Macondo [Deepwater Horizon] phase of ‘Let’s get out there and get it done,’” said John Davis, manager of NCA Americas. “It’s important that we maintain our safety culture and make sure we are pushing that down. There’s no first warning or second warning.”

The Houston Chronicle reported on the first day of the conference at http://fuelfix.com/blog/category/otc/. The conference will continue through Thursday, May 3. Find more information at http://www.otcnet.org/2012/.

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