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Industry must halt the negative trend

PSA director general Anne Myhrvold is concerned about safety in the petroleum sector. “The industry must ensure that constant attention is paid to risk and safety – in every single operation and job,” she observes.


“We’re worried. It’s our job to be worried,” Myhrvold told the Safety Lunch at the ONS oil exhibition and conference in Stavanger this week.

“It's our job to analyse the findings of our supervisory activities and to be concerned when the RNNP [trend report] results point in the wrong direction.

Fear
“It's our job to challenge you, the industry, when we fear that safety in the industry is going into reverse. Put bluntly, our role is to be the regulator, to ask questions. And that's what we're doing here today by asking whether safety is at risk.”

The PSA has put this question a number of times over the past year, and it represents the main theme for the safety authority’s stand at ONS.

“We're currently working to determine if accidents, incidents, trends and results over the past couple of years justify the claim that safety is under threat,” Myhrvold noted.

“During this work, we've pursued a discussion with those of you who're responsible for day-to-day operations in the petroleum sector. What do you think about this issue - and what are your reasons for thinking as you do?”

Awareness
She emphasised that enhancing awareness of the question “is safety at risk” was important in itself, and that safety was not about figures, trends and analyses.

“Behind these numbers stand people - colleagues we're all working together to protect, just as much in periods with demanding changes and financial pressures as in the good times.”

Myhrvold expressed her conviction that difficult times also open new opportunities along the financial, safety and efficiency axis.

“We've seen a number of examples of this in recent times. They include new development solutions, 3D technology, and our review of documentation requirements in the industry.”

Eye on the future
Greater efficiency could enhance safety, she said, while emphasising that the industry must always have its eye on the future.

“That can be done by looking back and learning - by analysing the RNNP results, for example. We know that several companies make a big effort here: understanding the data and implementing improvement measures.

“At the same time, it's important to learn from what goes well and to identify why it does so. I would urge everyone to roll up their sleeves and to identify and implement measures which reduce risk.”

Both individual companies and the industry as a whole would suffer if the petroleum sector failed to keep its eye on the future, Myhrvold stressed. Wrong choices and poor quality could end in disaster.

“I have said before, and will say again, that understanding both the immediate and the long-term consequences of the changes is crucial. Tomorrow will be shaped today. Taking care of expertise and knowledge is the key to a safe future for this industry.”