Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Paper cut

BP Day is this Sunday.  How are you celebrating?
WASHINGTON — More than a dozen oil companies and trade groups have lined up to oppose plans to broaden the federal government’s oversight of safety practices at wells, saying existing standards are enough to protect workers nationwide.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration would be foolish to force new and producing wells to satisfy process safety management standards that have governed other industrial operations for decades, said the American Petroleum Institute, Dallas-based Pioneer Natural Resources, the Texas Oil and Gas Association and other groups in comments filed with the agency.

Applying (process safety management) to the exploration and production segment of the oil and gas industry is like prescribing painkillers for a paper cut,” said Rick Muncrief, senior vice president of operations for Oklahoma City-based Continental Resources.
In July of 2012 a Chemical Safety Board investigation named the lack of process safety standards as a primary factor in the loss of eleven lives to the "paper cut" on the Deepwater Horizon.
CSB Chairperson Dr. Rafael Moure-Eraso said, “A number of past CSB investigations have found companies focusing on personal injury rates while virtually overlooking looming process safety issues – like the effectiveness of barriers against hazardous releases, automatic shutoff system failures, activation of pressure relief devices, and loss of containment of liquids and gases. Furthermore, we have found failures by companies to implement their own recommendations from previous accidents involving, for example, leaks of flammable materials.”

In its investigation of the Macondo disaster, the CSB found that BP and its contracted drilling rig operator, Transocean, were focused on personal safety issues such as worker injury rates, rather than broader safety issues involving the process of drilling for oil using a complex rig.

Noting the lack of sustained focus on process safety, CSB Investigator Cheryl MacKenzie described an “eerie resemblance” between the 2005 explosion at the BP Texas City refinery and the explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon.

Note here that they're saying the 2010 explosion showed that the lessons of a 2005 explosion went unheeded.  And now they're set on making the same mistakes. 

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