The Safety Benefits of Remote Operations Centres

The rig site is historically an environment that has both a significant range and number of hazards associated with the operations that occur at it, as well as with travel to and from it. To undertake an effective risk avoidance strategy as well as being able to deal with the practical limitations of accommodation at the rig site means that minimization of risk exposure is the ideal approach. The question is whether this is viable or possible.

A remote operations centre has now been developed and used that allows support to rig sites and even some aspects of remote management of operations. While there are always attempts to utilize new technology to reduce the number of people at the rig, this process maintains or even improves the competency available to support such remote operations. Communications infrastructure now allows delivery of this support to multiple rig sites simultaneously and even facilitates remote control of rig site PC’s. Additionally, full time Applications Engineering in the centre improve Drilling Optimisation and Geoscience deliverables on a 24/7 basis 365 days a year.

These centres therefore allow safety benefits as well as efficiencies in resources with several wells being managed at the same time, in addition to providing depths of expertise that hitherto was unimaginable. Although these centres of expertise reduce risk significantly, it was recognized that there remained other hazards that needed to be effectively managed and addressed at the planning stage. These include risks to the centre based staff as well as those that potentially could increase risks at the rig site. This paper seeks to share some of the problems, the hazards and risks as well as the good practices that can be applied in developing such a remote engineering centre.

Using this technology, safe and efficient remote working can be achieved making the concept of the remote operations centre a truly low risk environment.

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