In the early spring of 1990, the management of Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO) issued a directive to the six operating units of the corporation to begin a program of audits to assure compliance with all applicable environmental, health, and safety (EH&S) regulatory requirements. The time frame given to complete the first cycle of compliance audits was three years.

ARCO Oil and Gas Company (AOGC), the domestic exploration and production (E&P) unit of ARCO, responded to the management directive by assembling an EH&S audit staff, developing audit procedures, and creating a database of about 3000 audit protocols. More than two-thirds of the required audits were completed at the time this paper was published, including audits of gas plants, oil and gas production operations, drilling operations, high rise office buildings, offshore platforms, and warehouses. Selective use of contract employees allowed the program to stay on a tight schedule.

The purpose of this paper is to describe the steps taken by AOGC in developing its audit program, outline the obstacles overcome in implementing the process, and review costs and other important aspects of the program.

Specific areas of the audit program addressed in the paper include: pre-audit planning, statistical sampling guidelines, on-site activities, written reports, follow-up requirements, and database management.

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