The drilling team in Qatar has developed a safety culture in its drilling operations that employs a high level of behavior-based observations to help instill a broad based understanding of safety and hazard recognition. Senior management developed safety principles, but the day-to-day incorporation of the safety principles are stewarded by the workers themselves. This has led to a progressive improvement in safety results as the program and culture has matured.

The majority of the subsurface work is conducted on offshore jack-up drilling rigs by contract drilling personnel and service companies. In order to establish the desired safety culture, core safety principles were established and communicated by management. Then safety leadership training was provided to all key workers to gain understanding and commitment. Finally a behavior-based safety observation program was adopted and modified to fit this work environment. This behavior-based program has permeated all aspects of the offshore drilling work and has reduced the number and severity of incidents through hazard recognition, job safety analysis, and step back 5x5 tools. The evolution of worker participation has been far greater than originally envisioned.

It was important to communicate the safety message and results in a format that is conducive to the workforce, which is a broad spectrum of nationalities, education, and cultural backgrounds.

Metrics, feedback, and recognition systems were put in place to monitor safety progress and to help encourage and stimulate workers for rapid root cause analysis and dissemination of the results throughout the field so that learning's can be shared.

This paper demonstrates that safety can be improved with direct participation of the workforce in a behavior-based observation program.


The Qatar Drilling Team operates in the North Field of Qatar. This is the world's largest offshore non-associated natural gas field. It is located approximately 100 km offshore. The primary gas reservoirs are located 9000–10,000 ft (2740–3048m) below sea level and are considered sour (H2S) and relatively high pressure (5200 psi).The wells are designed for high flow rates (in excess of 100 MCFD) and long life. The water depth is nominally 220 ft (67m).

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