The Weekly Reflektion 20/2022

Building a culture needs actions that demonstrate that you are serious, stories to communicate these actions, and engagement to follow up that the actions have the desired effect.

Do your systems and procedures apply to everyone and in every circumstance?

Now that COVID is over, Mike and I would like to re-establish our Reflekt seminars to promote issues that we believe could lead to improvements in the petroleum industry in Norway. We have previously held breakfast seminars at the Auditorium at Ipark, Ullandhaug and we intend to continue with these later in the year. We have also organized seminars on Teams that have been more successful with regards participation although the interaction with the participants is not as productive.

We would therefore like to invite you to a ‘Listen and Reflekt’ lunchtime seminar on Teams 1st June 2022. The subject for this seminar will be Learning from Incidents.

When I was working offshore one of the topics that was often debated was the use of ‘single valve isolation’ for carrying out work on hydrocarbon systems. The company I worked with introduced strict requirements for isolation that put limitations on the type and duration of work that could be carried out with ‘single valve isolation’. The requirements also covered the systems with ‘high’ pressure classification that shall have double block and bleed isolation, see above figure. Our facility was not designed to meet these requirements so in many cases the only alternative was to shut down production to carry out routine tasks, for example inspection and testing of pressure safety valves (PSVs). It was not long before deviations to the requirements were being prepared and shallwas being changed to should for local applications. If the local technical authority was prepared to accept the change. Credibility to the requirements was undermined and problems with isolations increased.

I mentioned this to a colleague that worked in another company. This company also had strict requirements on isolations and were struggling to implement these effectively. A new platform was due to be commissioned offshore. Double block and bleed isolation had not been installed in accordance with the requirements on isolation and there was a significant cost associated with making the required changes. The project manager was pushing for a deviation and the senior management was sympathetic to their approach. Cost and schedule and start-up of production after all, are important factors for achieving the annual performance targets. But what about the long-term ambitions and the prevention of hydrocarbon leaks? The technical authority put her foot down and said no. This is not the way we do isolations here and you will need to make modifications to meet the requirements. I will not approve any deviation. The dilemma was resolved by the senior management backing the technical authority and authorising the required modifications to install double block and bleed isolations where required by the company’sisolation policy. 

The technical authority’s stand, and the backing of the senior management emphasised the importance of the isolation policy. Not just for the design of facilities but for the operations, and safe isolation for work on hydrocarbon systems. This story became part of a culture building process to improve safety and efficiency. It is interesting that this company seems to have less hydrocarbon leaks and less serious incidents than its peers.

Reflekt AS