Changes in the oil and gas industry have been dramatic in recent years. Operators have consolidated field office facilities and downsized staffing at many of their remaining facilities. As a result, operators are turning to independent contractors as a method of controlling both peak personnel demands and selected production functions. With these changes in the business environment, the role of the specialized contractor has been greatly expanded. Tasks once performed by operator employees are now ongoing services provided by the contractor. Their performance can often be exemplary until a major emergency occurs. Emergency response can no longer be considered a secondary issue. Every contractor, small or large, must be equally prepared for an emergency. Their ability to address emergency incidents will have a direct effect in their success.

This paper is a presentation of the actual learning experiences of one oilfield contractor confronted with the task of emergency preparedness, more specifically a small contractor. Oilfield service contractors commonly employ field personnel who work for extended periods of time without direct supervision. These employees may singularly or collectively float between sites or anchor one site. Operating sites might be localized or spread over a vast geographical area. Because of the uniqueness of their situation, direct supervision is minimal and the employees will shoulder greater responsibilities and authority. The contractor must evaluate operating conditions and develop an approach which will achieve the optimum results.

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