Bringing offshore verification and assurance into the 2020s
Bureau Veritas is working on three pilot schemes to bring offshore assurance and verification procedures in line with today’s oil and gas industry.
The vast majority of the procedures for offshore assurance and verification used today were established in the late 1980s. More than three decades later, the oil and gas industry has evolved significantly, and the need to change its approach to meet modern challenges is greater than ever.
The story so far
Traditionally, assurance and verification are aligned with how the duty holder assures legislative compliance offshore for the identification of major accident hazards and the evaluation of risks as well as provisions for their management. However, over the last 30 years, assets have degraded significantly, increasing risk. Meanwhile, well profiles have reduced in pressures, volatilities and temperatures, reducing risk. So, while the overall risk profile offshore has evolved, the methodology for verifying management of those risks has remained unchanged.
Moving towards new guidelines
In 2019, the UK’s Health and Safety Executive worked with leading verification organizations to assess the way assurance and verification are conducted. It concluded that verification would be more effective if the current focus on plant integrity were expanded to include people and processes in line with Step Change guidance recommendations.
In response to these findings, Bureau Veritas recently launched a number of pilot projects with operators and industry bodies to define good assurance and verification practices. Focusing on three core areas – risk-based verification, organizational maturity and net zero – the pilots build on a combination of industry guidance and integrity management principles.
Three core areas of study
For the risk-based verification pilot, we are working in partnership with duty holders to ensure that intervention offshore generates the greatest value by focusing on the areas of highest risk. Emphasis is placed on the ability of people to make informed decisions based on timely risk-prioritized data to ensure budgets are optimized.
The organizational maturity pilot focuses on people and processes, acknowledging that human activity can play a key role in many work-based incidents and helping companies identify potential risks and mitigations. It can also provide a quick way for companies to measure organizational efficiency, ensure compliance to safety management systems, and identify key performance indicators to support continuous improvement.
Our net zero pilot recognizes the importance of industry-wide initiatives such as carbon trading and offsetting. It could provide endorsement for duty holder activity to support aspects such as future licensing agreements and new technology funding.
Through these pilots, Bureau Veritas aims to create a standardized basis for industry guidance against which all verification schemes are reviewed. By defining best practices for verification and assurance, we hope to provide the offshore industry with a global benchmark that improves safety for people and platforms the world over.