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OPEX Houston Recap


RiskPoynt and 200 of our friends held a two-day Operational Excellence in Oil & Gas “party” last week in Houston. We realize in this low $/barrel era that many travel budgets are getting cut so in case you missed OPEX, I’ll recap some of the highlights.

The theme this year, “Driving out cost, risk and complexity to optimize the performance of your facilities, assets and workforce” is a mouthful. It’s also like driving in three directions at once or balancing competing goals. It reminds me of the saying “I’d like it good, fast and heap” …pick any two because you can’t’ have all three. Not the case at OPEX…you can have all three, if you consider “cheap” to be a relative term.

When you gathered 200 delegates, each with subject matter expertise, amazing things will happen. For instance, where else can you find an OIM from BG Group and the Technical Lead from Tullow Oil sharing their experiences with other competing operators? Well that’s exactly what occurred when Neil Rothney, North Sea OIM for BG Group (now acquired by Shell) and Al Ward, Technical Lead at Tullow Oil shared their keys to maintaining asset integrity and reducing risk in this low $/barrel era.

Innovation was the key. With capex and opex budgets slashed what’s an Operations Manager to do? How do you place your “budget bets” yet ensure safety of people, plant and planet? Neil Rothney presented to the audience the Barrier Model (An operational version of Bow Tie). The green-yellow-red interactive display provided an “at-a-glance” view that could easily communicate where the underlying operational risks exist and help him manage efficiently to resolution through mitigation measures. The business successfully turned around a very risky asset and restored it to health within 15 months. By having a daily, dynamic picture of operational risk, the teams could communicate and maintain focus on the important steps toward operational excellence. Each day, Neil explained how the Barrier Model gave him confidence to answer daily “are we safe to operate”?  While other managers were struggling to make the case for additional budget, Neil had the advantage that the barrier model made the case for him. A picture speaks a thousand words.

Al Ward took us back to the lessons learned from Piper Alpha, as a refresher and reminder that hindsight showed that asset and operational breaches of barriers (swiss cheese model) could have foretold the events leading up to the catastrophic event. It was a sober reminder that operational discipline and understanding of the status of barriers is a fundamental pillar of operational excellence. Al’s 30+ years of operations and technical maintenance success has in part been built on a foundation of leveraging innovation, including a visual view of asset integrity based on barrier health status.

Now for the shameless plug. What do Neil and Al have in common when it comes to using innovation to achieve operational excellence? It’s RiskPoynt.

We invite you to check out Neil and Al’s case studies and how and why they each use RiskPoynt.

BG Group: Demonstrating Control

Tullow Oil: The Effect of Personnel Changes on Cumulative RIsk