International Regulators' Forum Global Offshore Safety



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2007 Awards Citations


The International Association of Drilling Contractors “Health, Safety, and Environmental Case Guideline” was launched in October 2006 and since that time has become increasingly popular with offshore drilling contractors in many areas around the world.  The “Guidelines” provides a framework for developing an integrated health, safety and environmental management system for use in reducing the risks associated with offshore drilling activities.

The document provides the worldwide drilling industry with a means of harmonizing global health, safety and environmental principles applicable to mobile offshore drilling units into a single methodology tailored to the offshore drilling contractor community.  Use of the “Guidelines” allows drilling contractors to align their business activities with a variety of international standards and regulatory requirements assuring transparency of operations on a global basis.

As currently implemented, this offshore management system represents a voluntary, core set of principles which can be applied to any mobile offshore drilling unit regardless of geographic location.  As such, the guidelines provide a sense of consistency to operating personnel when conducting hazardous offshore drilling operations.

Though not compulsory, use of the “Guidelines” can assist regulatory authorities when evaluating drilling contractors’ management programs, providing them assurance that the program encompasses a series of best industry practices designed to minimize the risks of operating offshore.  This framework will greatly assist regulatory bodies, drilling contractors, and oil and gas producers in achieving higher degrees of personnel safety and environmental protection worldwide.

The “Guidelines” are rapidly gaining worldwide acceptance and exposure not only in North West Europe and Australia, but in Cuba, Canada, Angola, South Africa and Trinidad and Tobago.  As large, multinational oil and gas operators acknowledge the importance and benefits of the Health, Safety, and Environmental Case Guidelines, their use may expand to other offshore oil and gas provinces around the world.

This excellent achievement has great potential for enhancing the safety of offshore drilling operations worldwide and member countries of the International Regulators’ Forum greatly appreciate the work the International Association of Drilling Contractors has performed in developing this document.

IADC was cited by International Association of Drilling Contractors, Atwood Oceanics Australia Limited, and Transocean Offshore Deepwater Drilling.


Prior to 1995, Petróleo Brasileiro (Petrobras) was a self-regulated, fully integrated Brazilian government-owned company having a monopoly in all sectors of the Brazilian oil and gas industry (i.e., offshore and onshore exploration and production, refining, transportation  and distribution of oil and gas).  Petrobras' monopoly position in the Brazilian oil and gas market was ended by an act of the Brazilian Congress in 1995. At 1997, ANP was created as an independent Federal Government agency to oversee and regulate the commercial exploration, development, and operational safety aspects of the offshore (upstream) sector and downstream sectors of Brazil's oil and gas industry. Petrobras is now the biggest oil company operating in Brazil, ranked 8th in the World National Oil Companies (NOC) and 14th in the global ranking.

In 2000, Petrobras started reformulating its HSE Management System and set 15 corporate guidelines based on five pillars: visible commitment, line responsibility, deviation management, continuous learning and focus on human behavior. The implementation of the new Top-down Process Safety Program was supported by an investment of US $1.5 billion in the last year.

The guideline related to acquisition of services has obtained outstanding results and played a significant role in the global HSE performance, due to the huge number of influenced contractors (220,000 persons, according to Company's data). This corporate guideline includes HSE aspects in all stages of the contracting process, in a structured and integrated manner.  From 2000 to 2006 there was a tenfold decrease in the Fatal Accidents Rate and a fivefold decrease in Lost Time Injury Frequency, taking into account only contractors.

This excellent self-initiative has great potential to improve the safety of offshore operations not only in Brazil, but also in other regions of the world. This award recognizes Petrobras leadership in raising safety awareness efforts as a key driver for best sustainable business performance.

Petrobras was cited by the Agência Nacional do Petróleo, ANP, Brazil


In the Netherlands, there are currently 14 operators active in the offshore and onshore oil and gas industry and they employ around 2,500 people. Together, they produced 67 billion cubic metres of natural gas and 1.5 million cubic metres of oil in 2006. The operators are united in the Netherlands Oil and Gas Exploration and Production Association(NOGEPA).

The majority of the work performed by the operators is carried out by contractors. It is estimated that up to 15,000 contractors perform work for various operators on around 140 offshore platforms and 700 land locations. The Permit to Work (PtW) system is an important tool in managing the risks related to the tasks to be executed. A uniform PtW creates an excellent platform to effectively and jointly address the risks of jobs to be executed by visiting contractors and company site/platform personnel. All parties involved – oil and gas companies, contractors and regulators – have for a long time recognized the potential benefits of a uniform PtW system. Recommendations were made by the State Supervision of Mines and the NOGEPA at the annual meeting that the oil and gas producing industry should adopt a uniform PtW system.

In 2003, the NOGEPA Operation’s Committee decided to develop one comprehensive PtW system for the Dutch oil and gas industry. An important aid was the uniform PtW system already developed by ‘Deltalinqs’; an association for the common interests of the port and industrial companies, which operate mainly petrochemical and chemical plants in the Rotterdam/Europoort industrial area. Two NOGEPA members had already embraced this PtW system and many contractors in the Netherlands were already familiar with it. Therefore, it was decided to concentrate on investigating whether the Dutch oil and gas producers could join this system too. A working group was formed within NOGEPA which reviewed the ’Deltalinqs’ PtW system and produced a revised version of what became the “Deltalinqs / NOGEPA Permit to Work”.  This created a unique situation in that a major part of the Dutch industry is now standardized on one PtW system.

By 2004 all the NOGEPA members had standardized and implemented this system within their operations.  The PtW system includes a Task Risk Analysis, an introduction package and is available in both Dutch and English. The system proved to be effective in addressing the risks involved in tasks to be executed in the field.  This was was confirmed by a subsequent State Supervision of Mines PtW inspection project in 2006. The implementation of the uniform PtW system has been perceived as a valuable improvement by the contractors active in the Dutch oil and gas industry.

Finally, this PtW system has the potential to be adopted in other regions of the worldwide oil and gas industry.

NOGEPA was cited by the State Supervision of Mines (SSM), the Netherlands.


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