Process Safety… Beyond Personal Safety in Drilling

Various events in oil well drilling led to the development of control and prevention systems for low-probability, high-impact events that can affect lives, ecosystems or the integrity of equipment.

A low-impact loss of containment event on the surface during fracturing operations in the Colombian Piedemonte Llanero region highlights the need for a process safety management system that goes beyond a successful culture focused on personal safety. Operators in particular, supported by hydrocarbon service companies, adopted various approaches in the pursuit of process safety for the highest-impact risks in the value chain, within upstream, midstream and downstream activities. Process safety includes the service provided or scenarios of credible major risks such as control for wells, falling objects and spills.

In addition, companies providing services associated with exploration and production, such as BHI, focused their efforts on the mitigation of events or failures in tools, products or services that may contribute to loss of well control.

Ensuring suitable synergy, in terms of methods and controls, can be developed in projects such as those implemented in high-impact locations such as the Colombian Piedemonte Llanero, wherein the use of the service procurement method developed by Equion Energy, makes it possible to manage process safety through the models of both the operator and the service companies.

This paper presents the experience in harnessing this synergy, and emphasizing the methods adopted by Equion Energy and Baker Hughes. The paper highlights the creation of a process safety culture, which is reflected by the industry with personal safety through the utilization of advances in management systems.

Developing a culture of process safety is the starting point and culmination of strategies focused on identifying the greatest hazards, determining the reliability of barriers and preparing for emergency response and continuous learning, to consistently reduce hazards associated with the loss of hydrocarbon containment during the lifecycle of a well.

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