New technology making deepwater resources more accessible but stakeholders require 100% operational safety
The potential of deepwater resources was discussed by Phil Murray CEO of Petrotechnics, Nicholas Maden, Senior Vice president for Exploration International, Statoil, and Ali Moshri, President of Chevron at the 2012 World National Oil Companies Congress.
Most of resource exploration has moved from the shelf areas to deepwater progressively. These areas provide “more than likely chance” of finding resources, due to their location near previous wells. It’s mainly due to the impact of new technologies that has allowed companies to go further.
The general concern about moving into these frontier areas e.g. the Gulf of Mexico, and the Arctic, is the increasing levels of risk. The main issues of concern are operational risk; these are “high impact low probability” incidents, caused by a single individual, which can generally be avoided by working towards correct procedures. Even though companies have policies regarding safety and risk, the question is how one ensures they are safely carried out in front line operations. The goal is to provide personnel the technology and processes allow them make better decisions.
Another issue is the ability to respond to incidents, the risk profile is further increased due to issues such as logistics in deepwater areas. The industry cannot respond quickly when an event occurs in isolation. These operations really have to be 100% safe. In addition, stakeholders are becoming increasingly less tolerant of any departure from procedure due to issues in the past such as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.