The globalization of the oil and gas industry has resulted in an increased number of expatriates and families, relocating in geographically and culturally unfamiliar and sometimes unsettling environments. The acculturation process and changes in living conditions may result in maladjustment, possibly causing a loss in self-esteem, stress and anxiety, often engendering difficulties in professional relationships, lack of performance at work, or worse still, premature returns.
Premature returns have been extensively studied because of their potential impact on the individual and the organization, with varying conclusions with regards to their causes. Indeed, external risks factors related to expatriation are numerous: the geographic distance that jeopardize familiar supports; the exposure to new sets of rules, customs and beliefs; the increased responsibilities and workload, and the family’s feelings towards relocation to name a few. Accordingly, significant mental and social resources are heavily mobilized in the coping strategies used to manage the stress of relocation.
This paper argues that risks associated with expatriation cannot be fully addressed through the common preventive measures such as cross-cultural training or spouse involvement in the expatriation process. Residual but critical risks remain, that have to be mitigated through specific plans, such as responses to incidents of psychological distress or even psychiatric decompensation. Telepsychology and telepsychiatry, either through tele-consultation and tele-expertise, can be used to address such problems in a timely manner, providing remote access to specialists able to interact with the patient in his own language.
A dedicated platform has been deployed worldwide for this purpose, the configurations of which are variable depending on cases and situations. The platform provides a videoconferencing system, secured nominative health data and time zone management for appointments. Consultations are provided through the platform by a multilingual and multicultural team of psychiatrists and psychologists with expatriation expertise.
Two case studies where the platform has been used are presented herein, in order to describe the situation, the set-up, the treatment protocol, and the results obtained.
Lastly, the benefits and limits of this patient care technique are discussed, in view of the most recent research on telemedicine and topics for further investigation are suggested.
The occupational health (OH) hazards of hydraulic fracturing have been identified in various sources including the OSHA/NIOSH Hazard Alert and its focus on respirable crystalline silica. Other exposures include exposure to noise, diesel particulate matter, chemical additives, hydrocarbon from well flow backs, naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM) and other agents. As a backdrop, an overview of occupational health aspects associated with hydraulic fracturing will be presented.
There have been various efforts to address the health aspects associated with occupational exposures resulting from hydraulic fracturing. These efforts involve a multi-discipline and multi-stakeholder collaborate approach that has included operators, oilfield service companies, equipment manufacturers, industry associations, professional societies and governmental agencies. Some of the main efforts have included National STEPS Network Hydraulic Fracturing Respirable Crystalline Silica Focus Group, the American Industrial Hygiene Association’s Oil and Gas Working Group and the American Petroleum Institute’s Industrial Hygiene Group and API’s E&P Health Issues Group. The activities that are addressing the OH issues of hydraulic fracturing will be discussed, highlighting the successes and challenges of using a multi-stakeholder approach. Some of these issues include the practical and technical considerations of workplace hazard communications, exposure assessments, and exposure mitigation measures.
Connick, S. (Chevron) | Pedroni, P.M. (Eni) | Terry, S. (ConocoPhillips) | Nguessan, L. (ExxonMobil) | Johnston, M. (BP) | Romer, R.F. (International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association )
IPIECA, the global oil and gas industry association for environmental and social issues, provides the forum for the oil and gas sector to share knowledge and build capacity on challenging topics such as management of BES issues within oil and gas industry. In the effort described here, the IPIECA/OGP BES Working Group outlines a framework including six areas of practice that are fundamental to effective integration of BES considerations into oil and gas business processes and operations in any environment.
The development and application of this BES management framework by IPIECA member representatives on the BESWG aligns with IPIECA’s commitment to share knowledge and promote good practices that will help the oil and gas sector continually improve its environmental and social performance. This BES management framework provides a systematic approach enabling progression in the development of BES management practices within oil and gas companies. The BES management framework identifies and elaborates on six areas of practice:
Build BES into their governance and business processes
Engage stakeholders and understand their expectations around BES
Understand BES baseline
Assess BES dependencies and potential impacts
Mitigate and manage BES impacts and identify BES opportunities
Select, measure and report BES indicators
For each area of management practice, the framework provides additional guidance on the management approach, content, scale and timing of activity, and resources employed. An ultimate outcome for this framework will be to connect specific areas of management practice to existing tools and resources provided by IPIECA and OGP to assist companies in development and continual improvement of integrating BES management into their processes. The BES management framework will also be used to inform IPIECA BES Working Group’s strategic direction and future work products.
Research by experts from industry and an environmental organization finds that incorporating nature into man-made infrastructure can improve business resilience – and bring additional economic, environmental and socio-political benefits.
Experts from Shell, The Dow Chemical Company, Swiss Re, and Unilever, working with The Nature Conservancy, evaluated over 20 business case studies, and recommend that green infrastructure solutions should become part of the standard toolkit for modern engineers.
Green infrastructure should be part of mainstream business thinking.
Green infrastructure employs elements of natural systems, while traditional gray infrastructure is man-made. Examples of green infrastructure include creating oyster reefs for coastal protection, and reed beds that treat industrial waste water.
The research team evaluated the assumption that green infrastructure can provide more opportunities than gray infrastructure to increase the resilience of industrial business operations against disruptive events such as mechanical failure, power interruption, raw material price increases, and floods. The evaluation concluded that hybrid approaches, utilizing a combination of green and gray infrastructure, may provide an optimum solution to a variety of shocks and improve the overall business resilience.
The case studies gathered to support this research encompass a wide variety of possible applications of green infrastructure. They range from growing plants that cost-effectively remediate contaminated soil (phytoremediation), to constructing wetlands that naturally treat industrial waste water, to mitigating air pollution through innovative forest management approaches.
Recurring benefits inherent to green infrastructure solutions relate to providing ecosystem services, promoting biodiversity, offering innovative approaches for engagement with local communities, while requiring less capital and less maintenance compared to gray solutions.
For example, constructed wetlands have proven to be able to effectively remove residual hydrocarbons. As gravity pulls the water downhill, reeds act as filters, removing oil from the water. The oil is eaten by microbes that naturally feed on hydrocarbons underground. For a throughput of more than 330,000 m3 of water per day, constructed wetlands can lower energy consumption and green house gas emissions by 98% compared to a traditional gray waste water treatment and disposal plant. Also, the wetlands are providing habitat for fish and hundreds of species of migratory birds.
4.Mr Edwards was a miner. He was tragically killed when the supporting structure of a roadway collapsed. His employers argued that it was too expensive to shore up every roadway in all of the mines. The judge, in the subsequent court case, in some respects, sided with the employers and stated in his judgment “that a computation must be made...in which the quantum of risk is placed in one scale and the sacrifice involved in the measures necessary for averting the risk (whether in time, trouble or money) is placed in the other...”. Since this judgment the concept of “As Low As Reasonably Practicable” has formed a significant part of HSE practice and Risk analysis in much of the world where the regulatory framework is “goal” setting rather than “prescriptive”. Does ALARP have a part to play in a US context?2.The ALARP term comes from the tragic death of one individual; is it applicable to the prevention of Major Accident Hazards involving multiple deaths or major pollution of the environment? If so how should the ALARP concept be applied? The difficulty arises as there is disconnect between the statistical analysis used to assess the risks, which is based on generalities, and the practical reality that major incidents will happen in the future but what is not known is when and where they will happen. Rather like winning the lottery; it is inevitable that someone will win, it is however unlikely to be you as an individual. For these reasons making decisions to reduce risk to the ALARP level is not obvious.
1.This paper discusses how the ALARP principle is applied to the design and operation of oil and gas facilities. For example, how decisions are made in relation to the layout of platforms; the requirement for accommodation platforms separate to the production platform; the positioning of flotels/walk to work vessels; the requirement for SSIVs, or the requirement for deluge systems can be assessed with reference to the ALARP concept.
3. Furthermore the paper discusses the benefits, difficulties and ambiguities associated with applying the ALARP principle in the real world.
1. Description of the material - This paper describes ExxonMobil’s Emergency Preparedness and Response Model and Process. ExxonMobil strives to prevent emergencies from occurring. However, when emergencies do occur, the Model and Process defines ExxonMobil’s approach to preparing for and responding to the event(s). Our philosophy remains the same for an emergency that directly impacts us or one indirectly impacting our industry: establishing objectives that minimize impact on people, the environment, assets, and reputation (PEAR).
2. Application/development - Our philosophy, objectives, tools, and processes are internal to the Model and Process, and integrate a tactical and strategic response. Internal and external resources ensure that our response is effective and scalable, on a 24/7 basis. Engaging these resources in training and exercises enhances response capability if a real emergency occurs. ExxonMobil’s Corporate Headquarters and Upstream, Downstream, and Chemical Companies have Emergency Support Groups (ESG) for each business unit. The ESG is focused on strategic support. Tactical support is derived from: three Tier III Regional Response Teams (global coverage), eight U.S. based Tier II Strike Teams (personnel and equipment based), and numerous Tier I- Facility/Site Teams. We also contract with oil spill response organizations (e.g., Oil Spill Response, Marine Spill Response Corporation, and Marine Well Containment Company) for additional personnel and equipment. In the U.S., use of the National Incident Management System’s Incident Command System (ICS) is required at the tactical level. ExxonMobil has implemented ICS, on a global basis, to improve preparedness and response.
3. Results, observations, and conclusions - ExxonMobil has benefited from the Model, Process, Teams, and Resources. Benefits include: Networking; Lessons learned and applied; and Increased personal knowledge. Team synergy and immediacy of effective response activities during emergencies have also validated training and exercises.
4. Significance of subject matter - Emergency Preparedness and Response planning is essential for any organization. International and national laws and regulations mandate oil and gas companies to have emergency preparedness and response plans, resources, training, and exercises. The ExxonMobil Model and Process, which integrates strategy and tactics, provides an invaluable framework for preparing for and responding to emergencies.
The use of downhole Electrical Submersible Pumps (ESP) provides a means of producing oil reservoirs that are non-eruptive and requires artificial lift to produce the reservoirs. The maximum expected wellhead pressure (MEWHP) of these wells takes account of the ESP parameters and in some cases, for instance after a long shutdown, the MEWHP of an ESP well can be as much as five times greater than the maximum wellhead flowing pressure (MWFP). This creates a challenge for the design of surface facilities, as even though the reservoir pressure may be low, there exists the possibility for overpressure of the facilities by the ESPs. The design of the surface facilities therefore needs to account for possible overpressure from these pumps.
High Integrity Pressure Protection Systems (HIPPS) provides an alternate protection to the use of traditional pressure relief systems in cases where the installation of these systems is not technically feasible or where their installation would result in a disproportionate cost to the project and possible inacceptable environmental impact with the multiplication of flare or vent systems. The traditional HIPPS design uses closure of a valve as the final element for isolating the overpressure source. This paper presents the results of a study that uses an ‘Electrical HIPPS’ system to directly isolate the electrical source to the ESPs thereby stopping the pumps and removing the overpressure source.
The study demonstrates that an electrical HIPPS architecture can be used to protect the surface facilities from overpressure from the ESPs. The use of this design provides an overpressure protection system with a much faster reaction time, as valve closure time is no longer a limiting factor in stopping the source of overpressure. It further shows that a HIPPS design based on this architecture can achieve a HIPPS layer reliability equivalent to SIL 3, in low demand mode and with acceptable test period from an operational point of view.
A case study is presented which illustrates the applicability and sensitivity of the HIPPS design to the protection of individual wells clusters versus protection of a production pipeline that has many clusters feeding to the system.
O'Brien, Robert (BP) | Walls, Anne (BP) | Clarke, Jim (BP) | Pereira Costa, Sofia (BP) | Oliveira, Shirley (BP) | Smith, Ken (Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute) | Priede, Imants (Oceanlab) | Vardaro, Michael (Oregon State University) | Rowe, Gil (Texas A&M) | Bailey, David (University of Glasgow) | Milligan, Rosanna (University of Glasgow) | Ruhl, Henry (National Oceanography Centre) | Sangolay, Bomba Bazika (National Institute of Fisheries Research)
The Deep-ocean Environmental Long-term Observatory System (DELOS) was installed in Block 18 Angola in February 2009, and therefore celebrates its 5th anniversary in February 2014. The two DELOS platforms are located 16km apart in 1,400m of water depth. One is within 50 metres of subsea facilities, and the second is 16km from any sea floor infrastructure. Each platform comprises two parts: - a sea floor docking station that is deployed on the sea floor at the start of the monitoring program and remains for the 20 year project duration; and a number of observatory modules that are designed to perform specific environmental monitoring functions. Each observatory module has enough battery and storage capacity for autonomous operation for 12 months. Towards the end of the 12 month deployment period each platform requires ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) intervention to recover observatory modules to the surface for service, calibration and data offload.
DELOS has already provided the scientific community with a unique long-term dataset to study the natural environmental conditions in the deepwater of the Atlantic Ocean. The data collected so far has provided a unique opportunity to examine the spatial and temporal variability of physico-chemical conditions and biological communities. Studies to-date have shown, for example, a direct correlation between the physico-chemical conditions (temperature, salinity etc.) and the fish communities present at the two sites. Based on the results already collected by the project, the scientific community has strongly advocated the further development of paired, deep-water observatories in other regions of the World’s oceans. This paper will chart the successes, and challenges, of the DELOS project to-date, examine some of the data collected during the first 5 years, and discuss the need for continued, long-term observations of the deep ocean both offshore Angola and elsewhere.
Description of the material
Being frightened of the unknown is a natural and essential human response. The average person in the US has never seen a hydraulic fracturing facility, yet it is a safe assumption that the media has already biased common opinion about the safety and environmental impact of the process. Energy companies must recognize and prepare for this reality when approaching new communities which are deciding on whether or not to allow this industry into their back yards.
Dr. Kinslow presents several examples of successful and unsuccessful community engagement strategies as they relate to the energy industry, specifically hydraulic fracturing, in Texas and other states. Through these examples, she illustrates how applying the three tools of commitment, transparency and dedicating the right people for this type of engagement are critical to the economic success of hydraulic fracturing.
Results, observations, and conclusions/ Significance of subject matter
Commitment to the community involves a proactive response to questions and concerns of the community. Interestingly, many concerns from fracking communities do not coincide with those concerns illustrated in the media. Proactively recognizing and addressing these issues learned from past experiences places the industry in a solid position to build a trusting relationship. Transparency is essential in this relationship. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has developed an outstanding and transparent system of engagement, data-sharing and strong community outreach. This Agency-wide attitude has gained the TCEQ standing as a science-based, strategic, and trust worthy group to turn to when human health impacts are an issue in state and federal regulatory decision making. Having the right people to bring these tools forward is essential for successful engagement. This team must involve a set of communicators that are ready to apply their scientific, business, and regulatory knowledge in order to genuinely help the people. Communities know when someone is not genuine. Having the right people at the front lines to build and maintain that genuine relationship through knowledge sharing will gain respect and trust on all sides.
Understanding and Reducing Risk Tolerance or 'risk acceptance' is critical to improving safety. Research conducted by ExxonMobil has indentified the relationship between Hazard Recognition, Risk Perception and Risk Tolerance. The research has shown that traditional approaches of providing increased hazard recognition training does not always result in reducing the levels of risk that workers accept. The research has established the10 Influencing Factors for Risk Tolerance. These factors include:
Over Estimating Capability and Experience
Familiarity with the Task
Seriousness of the Outcome
Voluntary Activities and Being in Control
Personal Experience with a Serious Outcome
Cost of Non-Compliance
Confidence in the Equipment
Confidence in Protective Equipment and Rescue
Potential Profit or Gain from Actions
Role Models Accepting Risk
The material shows how to recognize these factors in the workplace and provides strategies on how to address each of them and reduce the acceptance of risk. It demonstrates that tools and processes that are already part of a safety management system can be used to address the influencing factors.
The concepts and principles established by this research have been used by ExxonMobil around the world and have provided breakthroughs in answering the question "Why do workers take risks?". The application of this new knowledge has enhanced safety and has helped workers understand their personal levels of risk tolerance and has helped managers and supervisors understand the safety issues in their organizations.