Industry reports identify human and organizational factors as contributors to operational incidents. These include lack of standardization, enablement, and compliance with operating procedures at the well site or by the broader (local or remote) support personnel. There is consensus among practitioners and regulators about the need to pro-actively reduce our exposure to these factors, both to avoid potential incidents and to reliably contain the impact of realized incidents.

In this paper we argue that we should improve operations assurance by building trust into our operations and we discuss how to combine existing principles, methods and information technology to achieve this in practice. The approach we will describe takes advantage of a framework developed by the HS&E profession--the "bow tie"-- to analyze what contributes to incidents, what barriers could be put in place to prevent them and how to contain them.

The diagram shows an abstraction of the bow tie model. The left side of the diagram (top event prevention) makes explicit the various threats we face during an operation, the precursor that signal the presence of a threat, and the preventive barriers--people, process, technology--that we should activate to avoid the propagation of the threat to become a top event(at the center of the bow tie). The right side of the diagram (top event response) makes explicit the response workflows that may follow an incident, the escalation barriers that we should activate to contain the impact of the incident, and the consequences that we would face if the barriers fail.

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