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The Effect of Personnel Changes on Cumulative Risk

Tullow Oil has learned to expect the unexpected, and to respond effectively to “abnormal” situations. An abnormal situation is something other than the “steady state” condition; it could be anything from a minor upset that affects operations, to a temporary loss of logistics support or even the identified impairment of some safety-critical element. Operators prime consideration in any abnormal situation is to avoid any increased risk to safety. This is the basis for using operational risk assessments (ORA).

Background to Tullow Operations in the Ghana Region

Tullow Oil is head quartered in London, operates in 22 countries with 68 producing fields, and produces 73,400 BOEPD.

Within the Ghana region, Tullow operates 2 main production fields in the Gulf of Guinea’s Tano Basin – Jubilee and TEN fields. The fields are deep water between 1,000 and 2,000 meters. Both fields operate with floating production storage and offloading vessel (FPSO). The TEN project umbilical’s (which connect the FPSO to the subsea equipment) have a total combined length of over 60 km. Produced Oil is then sent to shore by offloading tankers.

Tullow are live with a cloud-deployed instance of RiskPoynt; which is used daily, weekly, fortnightly, monthly and yearly for reviews, discussions, audits and formal reporting. Tullow also uses a control instance of RiskPoynt for “what-if” scenarios to help anticipate potential risk elevating scenarios. Using open integration, the teams feed into RiskPoynt the following:

In addition, Tullow takes full advantage of the RiskPoynt area breakdown of the respective FPSOs. Tullow has Jubilee FPSO split into 55 areas and 75 areas for TEN – Main deck, Flare Tower, Gas Process, Crude Separator, etc. Each area is able to be analysed separately, providing a specific barrier health display for each individual section or processing unit. Also, each area is set up with an associated schematic drawing which the engineer can plot the risk record over the top of, thus creating a risk heat map for both initial and residual risk.

Challenge Faced – Jubilee

The FPSO on Jubilee is an aged vessel compared with the TEN FPSO – which was recently built and commissioned in Singapore and shipped to Ghana in June 2016. In both cases, RiskPoynt is providing the necessary visualisations on the integrity health level of each respective installation. However, the addition of a second vessel has stretched the utilization of competent personnel, as the resource-heavy initial start-up phase for TEN has begun. For Jubilee, additional analysis was required around the impact of personnel changes which have accompanied the changes in operation. Changes in personnel have led to changes in competencies. How does this impact Jubilee’s overall cumulative risk profile? Are they safe to operate?

The Solution

These personnel impacts were entered as risk assessment records into RiskPoynt, merged in with the current impact of operational risk and work order backlog, and eectively provided a controlled visualization of what the cumulative health of the barriers would be in the months ahead. Using RiskPoynt, the management team could clearly identify where competency issues would expose the business to higher risk. This re-enforced RiskPoynt’s ability to:

The Solution Process

Jubilee followed the standard risk assessment process, used via RiskPoynt, by initially identifying which barriers the lowered competency levels would weaken, and then applying these records to the “HF – Human Factor” nodes of the appropriate barrier within RiskPoynt.

For Tullow Oil, the process starts with the platform – integrity related issues are identified – and discussed at installation management meetings. Here the assessment is made initially using performance standards, identified interrelated failures and understanding of the risk. Interim control measures are then agreed. Mitigation control measures are documented through the operations risk assessment process which outlines the management of mitigation measures applied.

Onshore Support and technical authorities further discuss the issue. Discussion ranges around the deepening of the understanding of the issue including challenges for continued operation, clarification of standards and agreement that the control mitigation measures are adequate and appropriate to reach ALARP.

Once risk and mitigation measures have been fully understood and applied, the result is communicated across the organisation via RiskPoynt’s dashboard visualization. The use of the cumulative risk profile to explain and illustrate is an effective way of demonstrating the integrity status of the installation.

Consequently, management discussion and engagement with the installation are brought into focus with clear visibility on status of asset integrity due to competency deficiencies – along with open discussion, better decision making and effective interventions leading to long term solutions.

Impacts and Benefits


What is the Relationship Between This Approach and Operational Excellence?

Technology plays a part in a low oil price market, moving the relationship between operational excellence to operational discipline. The use of software tools like RiskPoynt allow operators to view into the future, and pro-actively manage the impact

that personnel changes have on the business while merging operational risk and deviation from compliance. The combined visualisation enables communication and promotes the operational discipline around safety and integrity.