Safety Initiatives Enhance Integrity of Offshore Platform Operations
- D.L. Gilbert (Exxon Co. USA) | R.E. Mayhew (Exxon Co. USA)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- May 1993
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 478 - 484
- 1993. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 1.6 Drilling Operations, 6.1 HSSE & Social Responsibility Management, 4.1.9 Heavy Oil Upgrading, 4.2.3 Materials and Corrosion, 7.2.5 Emergency Preparedness and Training, 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 1.6.5 Drilling Time Analysis, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 4.2.4 Risers, 6.1.5 Human Resources, Competence and Training, 4.2 Pipelines, Flowlines and Risers, 3 Production and Well Operations, 4.1.6 Compressors, Engines and Turbines
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Following an in-house survey team's review of Exxon Co. U.S.A.'s offshore operations in the Gulf of Mexico, the Offshore Div. Risk Evaluation and Control (RECON) team initiated a number of upgrade programs directed at preventing an accident potentially resulting in injury, damage, or pollution; providing effective response if an accident should occur; and providing for safe and timely platform abandonment if the accident escalates beyond control. This paper describes the gulfwide procedural and equipment enhancements undertaken to address these three areas of personnel safety.
Enhancement Program Objectives
The RECON team, formed in Oct. 1989, addressed issues involved in the enhancement of personnel safety at offshore platforms. The team divided its efforts into three basic categories: accident prevention, response/control, and platform abandonment.
To reduce the probability of an incident (fire or hydrocarbon release), a number of procedural issues were addressed and modified. Simultaneous-operations procedures were rewritten and expanded, and training was provided to enhance employee understanding. Safety-systems operating guidelines were revised to communicate management expectations more effectively, to introduce control procedures, and to minimize the bypassing of safety devices. Equipment lockout/tag-out guidelines also were expanded to underscore the importance of this maintenance requirement. The frequency and level of investigation regarding emergency shutdown testing were increased to levels appropriate to ensure operation in a real emergency. Pipeline riser inspection and protection were enhanced. Additionally, a releasable fusible device was developed to allow closure of wellhead surface safety valves (SSV's) in a situation without fire when they are locked open during wireline operations.
Several emergency response issues were addressed. Emergency response training involving scenario drills was developed, conducted, and implemented. Platform firewater systems were upgraded, and fire response training was enhanced. Alarm, communications, and emergency lighting systems were upgraded and expanded. Orientation of personnel regarding emergency procedures and equipment was improved through the development of site-specific orientation brochures and tours, as well as the production of a new orientation video for first-time visitors.
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