Abstract

In the oil and gas industry, the criticality of safety is at the heart of all projects and operations, as the direct and indirect costs of just one accident can be sufficient to make any of the major multinational companies insolvent. Safety management stands mainly on a tripod of human, technical and/or operational and organizational accident causation factors, with their safety management tools. Presently, the human and technical and/or operational factors have well-developed tools and models for preventing and mitigating their occurrence and impact, leaving the organizational factors without deployable models or tools.

To close this gap in industrial accident prevention and mitigation, an organizational reliability model is proposed to provide the diagnosis of organizational reliability states, complete with recommendations and improvement opportunities in the complex, high-risk, error-prone upstream sector of the offshore oil and gas industry.

This model applies two analytical paradigms; the HRO scales audit and template analysis, which are quantitative and qualitative methods respectively. Both approaches were used to assess the organizational reliability state of a multinational oil and gas company (High Reliability Organization – HRO) having offshore projects and operations in two operating regions; Norway and UK.

The template analysis involved running 25 interviews with stakeholders that met the model's sampling criteria, and coding the interview themes into the template of a-priori themes derived from reviewed HRO literature. The HRO scales audit survey was also run on a wider group of 60 respondents selected based on the same sampling criteria.

The weighted averages of codes on the final template were checked against the results of the HRO scales audit. The model's predictive validity was confirmed by the remarkably similar results from the qualitative and quantitative analyses, which clearly picked out fine details of the strengths and improvement opportunities in the HRO's safety management system. Sixteen (16) recommendations and improvement opportunities were provided from the model run.

This paper proposes the deployment of this model for meeting the identified safety management use cases in the oil and gas industry which includes the safety first priority, activity-based safety cost reduction, which is highly topical in lowering operating costs in the current global low oil price regimes, and for contractor and supply chain safety management.

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