The SPE has recently formed a process safety work group to help engineering, drilling and operations personnel to apply process safety to the upstream oil and gas business. One of the goals of this work group is to help apply process safety principles, commonly used in other industries to the upstream E&P industry. Many of the hazards found in the upstream E&P industry can be mitigated through the use of process safety techniques. The objective of this paper is to inform the reader how the principles of risk- based process safety management can be applied to the upstream oil and gas industry to reduce risk, injuries and environmental incidents.

Many "case histories" were reviewed when developing the methods and procedures for applying process safety to the upstream business. Process and safety principles were examined from many other industries for applicability to the upstream oil and gas industry. This paper covers the principles forming the foundation for process safety and the different elements of process safety and shows how they can be best applied to upstream operations. A risk-based approach is used showing how to select and prioritize the most critical aspects of process safety. Use of risk-based process safety techniques can be applied to all facets of the upstream industry from discovery to abandonment.

The results presented in this paper will provide an innovative resource so that companies and personnel can apply process safety to upstream oil and gas operations using a risk-based approach. Elements, of process safety, can be prioritized by using the techniques and information provided.

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