21 April 2018 - 15:11
  • News Code: 282262
Franco-Iranian Oil Industry HSE Workshop

TEHRAN (Shana) -- In the aftermath of implementation of Iran's nuclear deal with six world powers and concomitant renewed interest by foreign companies for cooperation with Iran's petroleum industry, the Iranian Ministry of Petroleum was prompted to benefit from the achievements of leading international companies in the health, safety and environment (HSE) sector.


The first HSE workshop was held in Tehran in cooperation with the French Embassy's Business section in Iran. The event was inaugurated by France's Ambassador Francois Senemaud and Iran's top deputy minister of petroleum Marzieh Shahdaei.

Paying attention to training manpower, prioritizing human resources in HSE issues and the significance of HSE in monitoring operation were among major points highlighted by speakers during the two-day event.

Co-sponsored by the Office of Iran's Deputy Minister of Petroleum for International Affairs and commerce, the HSE workshop was held February 27-28.

The objectives sought throughout this event included familiarizing Iranian petroleum industry managers with the latest HSE achievements of top oil and gas companies and application of management and technical approaches to improve the HSE output.  

The issues discussed throughout the workshop mainly pertained to the HSE role in design, preventing damage, management of physical assets, promoting the HSE culture, behavior-based safety, oil and gas blowout prevention and new environmental issues.

The companies represented in the event were Total, Axens, Artelia, IFP, B.V., Kerdos Energy, Amethyste, Gas Viewer, Path Control and GESIP among others.

Iran Determined to Renovate Equipment

In her opening remarks, Shahdaei described the petroleum industry as high-risk everywhere in the world.

"In all moments, working in the oil industry is high-risk due to the nature of work. The risk is extremely high in Iran's petroleum industry due to decrepit installations," she said.

"When an accident happens in the petroleum industry a single factor will not be to blame; rather we have to pin the blame on a chain of factors including neglecting instructions, disregarding regulations, mismanagement, decrepit equipment, poor education and so on," said Shahdaei.

She reaffirmed the Iranian Ministry of Petroleum's determination to renew equipment now that sanctions have been lifted due to the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

She also underscored the need for preventive work to minimize damage emanated from accidents, saying: "There are many approaches in this sector and we should benefit from all experiences instead of waiting for a crisis to occur and then seeking a solution."

Reiterating that leading international companies have always sought effective solutions to oil and gas industry accidents, Shahdaei said: "Benefiting from the knowledge and experience of these companies through holding workshops and training courses for petroleum industry experts and staff is a must."

Referring to the use of risk assessment methods, she called for the adoption of "tough regulations" in order to make the workplace safer.

Shahdaei specified vetting of professional competence, training manpower, management of physical assets, paying attention to environmental issues and updating technologies in the petroleum industry as important issues which must be focused upon.

She said establishment of process safety management (PSM), risk assessment and workplace safety were among the most important preventive measures.

Environmental Obligations Binding

The French ambassador highlighted the necessity of respecting environmental regulations.

Senemaud said that the Paris Agreement (COP21) required its signatories to honor environmental obligations.

"In addition to the HSE obligations in all sectors we have to take into consideration training manpower and motivating them, because training is instrumental in this sector," the top diplomat said.

Senemaud also referred to the significance of oil and gas market in Iran and the Ministry of Petroleum's success in bringing dynamism to the industry, saying: "During my visit to Assaluyeh and the South Pars projects, I was impressed by the development of infrastructure in this zone."

He said that in the wake of the lifting of sanctions, Iran and France have resumed oil and gas cooperation. Senemaud said France bought more than €2 billion worth of oil from Iran in 2017.

The diplomat said significant investment was being made in the development of Phase 11 of South Pars by the French energy major Total and its partners.

Noting that France would continue to support the development of activities in Iran's oil and gas sector, Senemaud said: "I hope that Iran-France cooperation would go on in the oil and gas sector and we would be able to cooperate in the revival of Iran's oil and gas sector."

HSE, a Behavioral Issue, Not a Cultural One

Dominique Boutin, from Sofregaz, had a presentation about reducing workplace accidents.

Boutin, who had visited South Pars one day before the conference, said the idea is to minimize the number of accidents in workplaces.

"Iranian companies have done quite well with regard to HSE issues," he said.

Boutin added that the South Pars facilities did not represent Iran's petroleum industry. "Therefore, the volume of activities carried out in this sector may not be the same in all sectors of petroleum industry."

He said that Sofregaz could cooperate with Iranian companies on reducing workplace accidents during implementation of projects, as well as in operating facilities.

Boutin highlighted "behavior-based safety" approaches, saying: "I believe observing that HSE issues rather than being a cultural issue is a behavioral one. When a behavior is not proper it has nothing to do with culture."

He called for the promotion of culture of safety, saying: "There is an approach according to which if we can predict accidents we will be able to reduce the number of accidents during work. But most of times many accidents are rooted in our behavior. Therefore if we manage to correct our behavior we will be able to institutionalize the culture of safety."

"In order to make sure about the outcome of activities on a real-time basis we will need HSE measurement indices to measure the activities. That would help prevent accidents and lower work risk," said Boutin.

He said that administrative control and supervision, as well as training manpower were among tools of HSE observation. He added: "We know that workers must be equipped, but we have to train them to behave properly on-site."

"Of course, HSE training is required to be alongside standardization. Furthermore, those who are chosen to train human resources are required to be competent for this purpose," he added.

Boutin referred to the strategy of continuity at work, adding: "We are required to carry out corrective measures in the process of work. The management should supervise this issue regularly in order to improve and see recycling."

He said that reforms were part of management.

"We believe that management does not mean letting affairs go ahead on themselves. The more the management's supervision the more effective the outcome will be," he said.

Boutin underscored the significance of responsibility in HSE business, saying: "We have to regularly monitor accidents and constantly supervise this issue because accidents do not give any alert and they occur suddenly. Therefore, we should not ignore our responsibility and imagine that our job will be done only by constant supervision."

"Meantime, HSE policymaking must be transparent and clear. That would help company chief establish links between HSE and the structure of project," he said.

Boutin said HSE at workplace included all sectors and was not bound to any specific domain.

"We have to require contractors to respect maximum HSE obligations and regularly report data so that we would see which accidents happen in different sections. That would help us find out whether accidents have increased or not," he added.

Boutin also referred to communication between contractors and operators, adding: "Operators are required to supply safety equipment to contractors. It would be better if a third party would be involved to adapt the requirements with what is on the ground."

He said that Europe had set instructions to verify the adaptation of activities and responsibilities.

Highlighting the significance of human factor, Boutin said: "Accident would make sense when a group of people work somewhere. Our objective is to change the behavior of people in order to prevent accidents."

He said that "all accidents are preventable."

Risk Reduction Level

Philippe Reveau, project manager at the HSE section of Artelia, was the next speaker. He first presented data about Artelia and its activities and staff.

Artelia of France is operating projects abroad: in Europe, Africa, Asia and America. Artelia's activities are mainly in Europe.

Reveau said Artelia is mainly active in risk management, adding that his company attached great significance to "full compliance to laws and regulations in each country". He also highlighted "periodical, regular and systematic reviews and industry standards compliance".

"Before starting a project we often conduct environment studies and assess risks like impacts on the environment and seismic testing risks. Then, we study management and crisis management projects," said Reveau.

Referring to risk studies conducted prior to the implementation of projects, he said: "By risk assessment we will be able to examine the impact of implementation of the project on the environment and examine problems and find solutions to them."

Reveau echoed Boutin's remarks about the significance of manpower in projects, saying: "In the first step, we need to identify the path we have to go through for the implementation of the project. We have to take into consideration the fact that manpower is always the top priority for us."

He said every report drafted on risk assessment is required to specify objectives. "In our separate assessment of our own objectives we have to make clear what would happen after an accident takes place. In the meantime, we need to examine scenarios for countering accidents and measure the probability of occurrence of accidents in a bid to minimize them," said Reveau.

"One of our objectives is to reach an acceptable level in risk reduction. Therefore, we have to make predictions and then design models," he added.

Workplace Accidents

For his part, Total's Terry Cooper outlined the French giant's activities regarding workplace safety, saying the number of accidents had significantly declined. He noted that Total registered 925 consecutive days without any fatal accidents in exploration and production projects.

He said he had witnessed a large number of risks during his visit to Phases 2 and 3 of South Pars gas field. He added that good HSE job had been done in Phase 2 of the giant offshore reservoir.

Highlighting the significance of manpower in the implementation of projects, Cooper said he had been told on the site of South Pars that accidents had declined and they were mainly emanated from human error.

Cooper said paying attention to HSE was "a strong commitment of management" at Total.

He added that safety-related behaviors are closely monitored by the management.

He said everyone had to make efforts for safety to be prioritized. Cooper said regulations and instructions had to be explained to everyone while different sections had to be visited regularly.

Of course, he added, all sections may not be visited. Cooper said closed circuit cameras were of great help to inform staff of what is happening in and around the site of the project.

Cooper said the cameras would provide "a clear understanding of the environment", help "improve the way instructions are given to the staff", help ensure that staff would "comply with the rules" and help "improve our safety on site".

He said that Total had declined a "Perfect Day" which required all staff to find answers to questions and design scenarios.    

"Each actor (from the affiliate management to the teams on site), commits him/herself, within his/her own activity, to reach a Perfect Day," said Cooper.

He then explained the Stop Card initiative, saying: "Stop Card is a tool that gives all Total and contractor employees the authority to step in and stop ongoing work if they feel that an action or situation is unsafe or could lead to an accident."

Cooper said that the users would face no "sanctions" by Total or contractor managers "even in the event of improper use" of the Stop Card.

He said nobody was authorized to oppose a Stop Card user, because any use would be interpreted as having been at the discretion of the owner.

Cooper also highlighted the issue of safety culture, saying CULTURE could stand for "Communication, Urge, Leadership, Teamwork, Understanding, Recognition and Empowerment".

He said major risks are studied every year in order to calculate certain indices which would set the stage for planning and investment.

Cooper noted that investment plans were not necessarily economical, adding that their economic aspect was taken into account because of budget allocation to them.

He stressed the need for managers to feel more responsible and work out various scenarios in order to predict possible accidents and find solutions for countering them.

"Major risks are known at the highest level of the company. Annually in a dedicated committee, the top risks and major risks performance indicators of each affiliate are presented to the Total's E&P Executive Committee (CDEP)," said Cooper.

He added that risks are viewed as a never-ending challenge, noting that a danger is never thought to be over. Even if the probability of accidents is reduced to zero, the issue would be how to maintain the situation.

Cooper said that contractor employees must be viewed as client's manpower to be trained. The important thing, he added, was to train them on safety measures noting that contractor employees are engaged more than others in the job.

Mohammad Reza Yousefipour, the HSE director of the National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC), said Iran's HSE sector needed technical cooperation.

"In the meantime we have to take into account the fact that international cooperation in this sector is not limited to Iran and it will have international results too," he said.



Courtesy of Iran Petroleum

News Code 282262

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