The petroleum industry comprises a growing number of integrated operations, based on information and communication technology advances (ICT).
Seen particularly in the drilling, production, maintenance and logistics areas, these changed modes of operation create both new risks and further opportunities to become better at HSE.
The PSA will help to reduce the risk of introducing integrated operation (IO), partly by investigating the possible significance of ICT developments for HSE.
It sees a need for an overall picture of the critical factors involved and for a clear understanding of roles and responsibilities by the players concerned.
The PSA will be a prime mover in ensuring that the new technology contributes to HSE improvements, not least by encouraging the use of IO when the industry further develops HSE management.
Change processes will be implemented in a good way, and HSE will be a driver for the development of innovative solutions – particularly in safety-critical work processes and systems.
Some development trends
Rapid progress is being made with ICT, and activities on land and offshore are being increasingly merged into a single operations unit.
This means that work is controlled and organised in real time, often in completely different parts of the world.
Eventually, a number of offshore activities will be run from land-based organisations across disciplines, between organisations and independent of distance, sea and shore.
The petroleum industry is also becoming ever more international in such areas as requirements and standards, appointments and recruitment, and contracts and investments.
What these changes – and new technological opportunities – will mean has still to be fully clarified. So one goal for the PSA is to identify how developments will affect such aspects as work processes and organisation of petroleum activities.
Specific changes could involve new divisions of responsibilities and roles and the transfer of decision-making authority across time zones and cultural or national boundaries.
Integrated operation means changes to organisation, staffing, management systems and technology – and not least to the interaction between them. By and large, new operating practices are being driven forth by the industry itself.
Supervision by the PSA aims to ensure that HSE considerations are integrated at the earliest possible stage of such restructurings.
Early integration of union/management/government collaboration and HSE concerns is therefore essential for achieving the goals set by the companies.
The PSA’s job is to make the players accountable with regard to functions on land which are safety-critical for work offshore – and vice versa.
In that respect, ICT solutions for IO are part of the developments which the industry must consciously exploit in order to manage HSE more effectively.
ICT safety and security in the petroleum industry are highly significant for protection of humans and environmental and material assets.