Crisis Management in O&G: An Experienced Approach

By Pedro Alcalá | Thu, 07/23/2020 - 11:35

In the early morning hours of April 1, 2015, a fire broke out on the Abkatun Alpha platform. The platform was part of PEMEX’s strategic shallow water asset Abkatun Pol Chuc and housed workers from PEMEX and employees from one of its more prominent contractors, Cotemar. Four workers died and 16 were injured. 

Before that, on July 6, 1988, the Piper Alpha explosions completely destroyed the North Sea platform, killing 167 people in what is widely regarded as the most destructive incident in the history of the oil and gas industry, both in terms of human and material devastation. 

The question of whether or not a more efficient and effective evacuation process could have resulted in the saving of more lives remains a point of dispute. Research into the Piper Alpha incident resulted in 106 recommendations for changes in offshore safety procedures. It even changed the allocation of responsibility when it comes to offshore safety in general. It was decided that separate departments were necessary to regulate this matter, instead of it being overseen by each country’s energy department. 

These two examples are highlighted to demonstrate that crisis management in the oil and gas sector is an operational concern that follows a historical learning curve. As a result, procedures and processes are stricter and better today. Both trial and error and experience have accumulated over time and are reflected in the lower casualty numbers from one case to the other. 

Today, operators need specialized partners that can facilitate access to this wealth of information and experience for their workforce and managers. RelyOn Nutec’s crisis management teams have gathered more than 20 years of experience helping organizations to lower their accident risks and improve their ability to effectively manage crisis situations through planning, preparation, training and leadership skills. 

The oil and gas industry, including its offshore platform operations, is among three economic sectors that are identified as high risk. The other two are maritime and industrial. Companies involved in these activities should implement professional crisis management support services such as those offered by RelyOn Nutec. These services implement consultancy and training programs, such as identifying safety gaps by assessing operational and organizational risks through a 360-degree analysis, mapping high-priority improvement areas as part of a concrete action plan, and developing procedures tailored to the company’s team, facilities and operations. Soon after, crisis management experts can use those procedures as a blueprint to train both employees and managers and guarantee a coordinated and successful response to any crisis.

Pedro Alcalá Pedro Alcalá Senior Journalist & Industry Analyst