Global Challenges Facing the HSE Function Within the Oil and Gas Industry

Prepared for the Society of Petroleum Engineers by one of our consultants while with a different company, this paper addresses the challenges of migrating North American and European Health, Safety, & Environmental (HS&E) management systems, including HS&E personnel, into these domains that historically have not placed HS&E as a core element of business success.

- Society of Petroleum Engineers,

Global Challenges Facing the HSE Function Within the Oil and Gas Industry

Abstract

Understanding legislative barriers, communication challenges, and business governance issues are just a slice of what lies ahead for many oil and gas companies choosing to expand their businesses into other areas of the world over the next decade, specifically Russia, China, and India. This paper addresses the challenges of migrating North American and European HS&E management systems, including HS&E personnel, into these domains that historically have not placed HS&E as a core element of business success.

Health, Safety, & Environmental (HS&E) programs that have demonstrated success in North American markets due to strict government regulations and commitment from corporate management will be faced with new cultures, behavioral challenges, and limited HS&E legislation. In the past, an HS&E professional working in the US or Canada primarily focused on the various elements of HS&E regulatory compliance they may have faced from labor unions, EPA, OSHA, DOT, Transport Canada, etc. This compliance effort seemed insurmountable at times due to the ever-changing bureaucracy from the respective governments in the US and Canada; however, these challenges are miniscule compared to what lies ahead for HS&E professionals supporting global operations. The new breed of HS&E professionals will need to be internationally schooled in many different HS&E country requirements, languages, and customs. Additionally, the largest challenge may be in behavioral transformation relative to understanding risk taking and the mindset of being unbreakable.

How will these challenges be met by companies planning to do the majority of their business in these particular countries? What impact will North American standards have in these countries and how will American and Canadian companies handle resistance to their way of managing HS&E programs abroad? Will organizations like the American Society of Safety Engineers, National Safety Council and the Board of Certified Safety Professionals have any global impact over the next decade? Clearly, these organizations need to have improved global exposure and participation in order to have a positive change in HS&E development. This paper discusses how global oil and gas producers and service companies need to challenge the regulatory bodies of these countries to implement HS&E processes similar to those in North America.

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