Health, Safety, and Environment-2021
One of the miracles over the past year has been the accumulated knowledge around the human genome and application of this science to the rapid development of efficacious vaccines. As within oil and gas, humans can rise to the challenge to solve complex problems when identified. This is playing out as we see societal drivers around climate change and net-zero carbon emissions.
In some respects, the prospect of returning to some degree of normality is evident on the horizon. However, climate and the future of energy show little sign of a return to prepandemic normalcy. The future of our energy system is being transformed, and oil and gas are crucial for energy stability as well as the transformation. One of the miracles over the past year has been the accumulated knowledge around the human genome and application of this science to the rapid development of efficacious vaccines. As within oil and gas, humans can rise to the challenge to solve complex problems when identified. This is playing out as we see societal drivers around climate change and net-zero carbon emissions.
Over the past year, SPE produced 11 events focused on the energy transition and continued the development of the Gaia Sustainability Program initiated by the SPE Health, Safety, Environment, and Sustainability (HSES) discipline. It is now a thriving community of SPE members across all disciplines committed to enabling and empowering all members and other interested parties who wish to engage in the alignment of the future of energy with sustainable development. An on-demand library of Gaia Talks and other resources has been built using the strategic programming framework (www.spe.org/en/gaia).
Advances in our understanding and application of technology, and the development of those who can use it to better the world, are highlighted in the selections made for this month’s Technology Focus—genome sequencing of invasive species, technology to identify fatigue, and development of human capital for the industry in Kazakhstan. We must not forget the key element in any strategic improvement of performance: the human being. This starts with developing human capital at the university level.
The industry is also working on progressing our understanding and application of human factors and human performance. As mentioned in the October 2020 JPT, the oil and gas industry has formed the Human Performance Oil and Gas (HPOG) alliance modeled after the very successful Dropped Objects Prevention Scheme program.
The return to a more-normal life also means that our traditional conference model can reengage membership. Face-to-face meetings accelerate networking and the transfer of knowledge, which is core to the SPE mission. Events focusing on HSES this year include a planned in-person gathering the first week of November: HSES Focus on the Future—Responding to Changes and How the HSES Function Will Grow (3–5 November). This event will primarily cover health, environment, and sustainability with one panel on land transportation safety. It is strategically planned for the same week and at the same hotel in Fort Worth, Texas, where the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers will hold its first Joint Congress on Safety (1–3 November).
A key element in building strategies within the SPE HSES discipline is the future of the function. Leading the efforts around this will be the newly formed HSES Executive Advisory Committee (EAC). This EAC, led by Fawaz (Fuzzy) Bitar, senior vice president of HSE and carbon at BP and former chair of the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers, includes HSE leadership from various upstream operators and contractors and will help with guidance and direction for SPE HSES Technical Director Annamaria Petrone. The EAC will hold a meeting and participate in plenary panels during the SPE HSES event in November.
This Month’s Technical Papers
Recommended Additional Reading
SPE 202737 6×6 Occupational Health Hazard Risk Rating Matrix: A Useful Tool in the Determination of Risk Levels of Workplace Health Hazards by Bufford Ang, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, et al.
OTC 30840 Self-Certification and Safety Compliance for Robotics Platforms by Osama Farouk Zaki, Heriot-Watt University, et al.
SPE 201312 Long-Term, Periodic Aerial Surveys Cost-Effectively Mitigate Methane Emissions by Sri Sridharan, Pioneer Natural Resources, et al.
Tom Knode, SPE, is the director of safety for Kirby Distribution and Services. His prior roles include safety consulting with vPSI Group, contracting with Equinor, and working for Halliburton for 25 years. Knode has had regional and global responsibilities for the oversight of health, safety, and environment (HSE) performance and introduced programs to reduce risk through enhanced leadership and process improvement. He was SPE’s technical director for HSE from 2008 to 2011. Knode has cochaired five SPE HSE conferences and authored and coauthored more than 20 publications on HSE performance improvement. He currently is on several SPE committees, including the JPT Editorial Review Committee and the Advisory Committee to the Technical Director for HSE and Sustainability. Knode holds a BS degree in geology from Texas Christian University and an MS degree in geology from The University of Texas at Arlington. He can be reached at email@example.com.