Oil and gas production in Russia has expanded dramatically over the last 10 years and continues to develop very quickly. The Russian market is dominated by large Russian operators, and a number of international operators and service companies are also present. Most of the oil and gas companies working in the region have only recently started to get engaged with global energy organizations such as the SPE, OGP, and IADC, and, as a result, little is known about the current state of health, safety and environment (HSE) management in the Russian oil and gas industry. This lack of communication and knowledge has led to some misconceptions among people and organizations without experience in the country.

This paper seeks to explain the current state of HSE in the Russian oil and gas sector; dispelling some common myths; and giving an insight into the tremendous challenges faced, some of which are quite unique to the country. The authors discuss the ways that HSE management in Russia is developing now, and share their opinions on how they expect it to develop over the next 10 years.

There is a widely-held perception, outside Russia, that there is no HSE "culture of compliance" in the country; however, the authors believe that this is not the case. This paper provides details of some highly prescriptive HSE legislation and explains that, contrary to popular belief, it is rigorously enforced by numerous regulatory agencies. The paper also describes the current shift from "rule" to "risk" based HSE management. The paper also addresses the attitude of a typical Russian worker to HSE in the field; the detrimental effects of the culture of alcohol, and the impact of low life expectancy amongst Russian workers. It shows, with some practical success stories from the region, how HSE efforts are delivering improvements in terms of risk management, training, and leadership development.

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