The oil and gas industry worldwide face a host of safety, environmental, and quality (SE&Q) requirements, driven by regulation, company, and industry standards. Their ability to demonstrate good management practices in these areas is significant beyond the obvious, efficient operation of their facilities, extending to impacting decisions on location of plant sites and gaining external capital funding. Hence, for many different reasons, developing SE&Q management systems has become a high priority throughout the industry.

Experience shows, however, that demonstrating adherence with wide-ranging requirements is a significant undertaking, and efforts to achieve this are often misdirected. Many have considered their SE&Q systems as effectively three separate entities, with few interconnections. Difficulties arise from this approach--the numerous audits and noncompliance corrections required in each field can become an intolerable burden, as can resolving apparent conflicts between standards. As a result, compliance can become an empty exercise, with little benefit to the organization, while valuable resources are underutilized for productive work.

So how does an organization address this "multistandard" issue without overwhelming the operation? The key is to apply common sense. There is only one management system operating within an organization, not three, and the operations should actually be carried out on a daily basis in this manner. Therefore, the solution is based on an integrated approach that incorporates SE&Q requirements within a single, unified management system. A methodology for achieving this will be described, the key features being:

  • Integration of the requirements of standards/regulations into one audit package;

  • Assessment of the actual management practices against this package, through interviewing and observing; and

  • Development/implementation of resulting changes on a structural basis.

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