Development of Safety Cases Ensure a Reliable Hazard Management Process
Safety cases have been an integral part of the oil and gas industry for years, following the Piper Alpha disaster in 1988. Oil & gas operators termed as ‘Dutyholders’ use safety cases to establish to a Regulator that there are effective means for ensuring safe operations of their facilities, and that these operations comply with the safety regulation regime.
In some countries, safety cases are a mandatory practice. In others, while it may not be a requirement, many major oil and gas operators still insist on its development. Safety cases help ensure a comprehensive hazard management process is implemented to demonstrate safe operations, and that the risk has been reduced As Low As Reasonably Practical (ALARP).
Failure in establishing and complying to safety cases can have significant consequences. Recently, Australia’s offshore safety regulator, Nopsema issued notices and directions to an Oil & Gas operator. The operator was pulled up on underestimating an offshore oil spill, during the offtake of oil from the Stag oilfield off Western Australia.
Subsequently, it was discovered that marine breakaway coupling (MBC) in the import floating hose assembly connected to the tanker, had activated. The crude transfer was halted when the incident was reported to the platform offshore installation manager.
Nopsema also found that this was the first time a vessel had been loaded using transient slow-load tankers under new off-take procedures at the platform, which are on location for a duration of up to three months.
A follow up investigation found the MBC was not positioned in compliance with the approved safety case or even recommendations made by the original equipment manufacturer.
As a result, Nopsema issued the operator with six improvement notices.
“This incident simply emphasises the importance of Operators adhering to the operations and measures described in the Safety Case. Safety Cases are a live document that should continuously be updated to reflect ongoing change at a facility and for Operators to ensure the measures described are practiced in actual day to day operations,” says SynergenOG co-founder, Puvan Balasubramaniam*.
Over the years, the SynergenOG team has successfully developed safety cases for operators all over the world including onshore petrochemical plants, offshore fixed platforms and floating vessels to ensure compliance with international standards and guidelines.
For more information on SynergenOG’s safety cases, visit SynergenOG.
Source: Upstream Online
*Puvan co-founded SynergenOG to better serve the Oil & Gas industry in the Asia Pacific region. He is a chemical engineer with more than 20 years working experience in Process Safety & Technical Risk Management, in the North Sea & Asia. He is competent in risk assessment & risk management processes, & has diverse experience in the offshore industry, both in consultancy & production operations.