Commission wrongly blames entire oil & gas industry with Gulf oil spill

The seven-person commission, established by President Obama last May to look into what went wrong with BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill and subsequent explosion, released its final report this week.  The 400-page report is causing a slight stir in the oil and gas industry after the commission essentially placed the blame with the entire oil and gas industry’s apparent lack of regard for safety measures.

“The immediate causes of the Macondo well blowout can be traced to a series of identifiable mistakes made by BP, Halliburton, and Transocean that reveal such systematic failures in risk management that they place in doubt the safety culture of the entire industry,” according to the commission’s report. Read the full report here.

Safety standards in oil and gas industry after gulf oil spillTo be honest, in the past year or two that I’ve been actively reading newsletters and publications published by organizations in our industry, I’ve found myself annoyed at the amount of space that safety regulations, tips and info about seminars take up (simply because I don’t play a role in the industry that requires safety besides watching for carpal tunnel syndrome and eyesight failure from staring at a computer screen all day. I’m not against safety).

Perhaps it has been ratcheted up a notch from all the negative press the industry was given after the gulf oil spill last spring, but I think to the industry as a whole has been attentive to safety standards and unlike the president’s commission found, that it’s not the entire industry as a whole that is negligent.

Here are some questions to consider about the status of safety in our industry:

1. How do you see the industry responding to the commission’s report?

2. What is/or has the industry been doing well in regards to safety?

3. In what areas, whether nationwide or in your area, do operators and producers need to improve?

4. What role should those in the industry play in regulating the safety standards in the future?

Below are some links and information about what the oil and gas industry has been doing in regards to safety. Many organizations do an outstanding job of providing the good information and seminars on how to minimize risk.

Safety in the Oil & Gas Industry Links:

1. Curious about what all the rules are? Check out the regulations and standards for the oil and gas industry, set by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration

2. The American Petroleum Institute’s site related to safety and health of workers and also how it affects the environment (to some extent).

3. Locally, if you belong to the Ohio Oil and Gas Association, you may be interested in finding out about the organization’s safety seminars and manual.

4. Who says safety comes cheap? Colorado’s Sisk & Company’s PetroDocs is a site with more than 650 documents about safety related topics for the oil and gas industry. To gain access, you have to either be a member of the Mountain States Energy Alliance or pay a hefty annual subscription. Depending on your role in the company, this may be a site worth checking out. If nothing else, check out the index with literally hundreds of reports on 45 topics.

5. Want to attend the Oil & Gas Safety Conference? Mark your calendars for 2012 in Arlington. Check out how this year’s conference went from the end of November and what sessions were covered.

6. If you want to manage the safety risk for your business, consider hiring a consulting firm like ABS Consulting. (I’m not necessarily endorsing this firm, just the concept behind what they do to help businesses create safe systems to mitigate risk. You can find a consulting firm in your area.)

For more response about the commission’s findings across the country, check out tomorrow’s Round-Up Post with interesting articles in the news about the oil and gas industry I’ve collected for you to enjoy.

Let me know if you have any good answers to my questions above and of course, stay safe!


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