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Human factors in Asset Integrity Management

Oilfield Technology,

Recent calls for the oil and gas industry to significantly cut costs to secure the industry’s long term future should be viewed with caution. There must be no ‘economy service’ where Asset Integrity Management is concerned.

Oil and gas industry assets must be maintained with the safety of the workforce always at the forefront. We are safeguarding this industry for our children and hopefully for our children’s children.

Offering value for money to customers is desirable, but we must never risk compromising on the quality of our engineering. To achieve the best possible results, AIM must be carried out to exacting standards.

Oil & Gas UK’s Activity Survey 2014 anticipates a new focus on asset integrity in line with Sir Ian Wood’s review into maximising recovery. This is a move which requires significant capital investment. The survey reports that at least £1 billion has been spent on asset integrity on the UKCS since 2010. This is an improvement on the past, but represents just 2.4% of total capital expenditure on the shelf in the last three years.

Asset Integrity Management is not only about looking after infrastructure in the oil and gas industry. It’s about looking after people too.

If installations operate at optimum efficiency and safety – people are protected from risk. But if they lack confidence in their workplace, this impacts on their attitude to their work and possibly on their performance.

Safety culture in the workplace also has a bearing on a company’s image. The way a business approaches safety influences whether people want to work with them and once they’re on board, whether they want to stay. That business ethos also affects recruitment and whether an organisation can attract the top young school-leavers and graduates.

Tackling the skills shortage also means taking note of young people’s views of the oil and gas industry. Some have had the impression that working offshore is a dirty job with constant hazards. Their families may have experienced at first hand the disruption to family life often associated with offshore work.

The industry has been working hard to set the record straight. It is increasingly important to encourage young people into an industry with a wide range of career opportunities and where meticulous attention is paid to safety. Ensuring the reliability and efficiency of hardware is not only essential to managing the risks the industry faces, but it also plays a vital part in creating a workplace people are proud to work in.

Attending to those concerns means always keeping safety as a priority and ensuring the workplace is clean, tidy and hazard-free. On the UKCS, installations in mature fields have an ageing infrastucture, so the issue of Asset Integrity Management is both topical and critical.

About the author

Keith Wallace is executive vice president of the recently launched Costain Upstream – a company which has introduced a dynamic, alternative service to the market place. Costain Upstream provides lifelong asset integrity management services to the energy sector, with a focus on maximising oil recovery safely. This unique asset lifecycle service offers subsea, floating and fixed capability, multi-disciplinary engineering, asset support services and proven project management expertise.

Keith has over 30 years in the oil and gas industry. He is the founder of two subsea and field development companies and has worked in oil and gas provinces across the globe. His latest venture is to head up Costain Upstream, a new division of the construction and civil engineering giant Costain Group which was founded nearly 150 years ago.

Written by Keith Wallace, Costain Upstream. Edited by Katie Woodward

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