OEUK news

Industry conference looks to future on health, safety and environment

6 November 2019

In a speech opening OGUK’s inaugural HSE Conference in Aberdeen this morning, OGUK Chief Executive Deirdre Michie said:
Good morning ladies and gentlemen and a warm welcome to our very first OGUK HSE Conference, Health, safety and the environment are at the core of everything we do, both as a major hazard industry and as an industry with people at its heart,
So, I’m delighted that we are building on the success of last year’s Safety30 with another focused event.

I’d like to kick off by thanking our sponsors, who have made today possible, and to thank our impressive list of expert speakers and panellists.
We look forward to hearing and learning from them as to how we can improve our own operations,
Our conference theme is solving tomorrow’s challenges, today.

It’s about exploring how this industry is taking health, safety and environment forward into the next decade.
As you’ll see from your agenda, we will consider a range of issues – the prevention of hydrocarbon releases, control of major accident hazards, emissions reduction and mental health – key areas of what is a very busy and important landscape of priorities for you all.
These are big issues with serious implications for everyone in our industry and so I’m grateful that we have Martin Temple, Chair of the HSE, who will provide an insight into the regulators strategic focus areas.

Many of you will remember Martin gave an excellent speech to Safety30 last year, reflecting on the legacy of Piper Alpha and the impact it has had across other industries as well as our own.Now earlier this year we marked the decade since the helicopter tragedy off the coast of Peterhead, where sixteen lives were lost. As we go about our day to day activities and as we look to the future, we must never forget and we must always remain chronically uneasy to ensure that the unthinkable doesn’t happen.

We do all share that responsibility and the culture we encourage is so important as we look to tomorrow’s challenges.
Not just on health and safety but importantly, in the environment in which we operate,
showing humility because we know we are all fallible and showing leadership in ensuring safe operations and the wellbeing of our people and our environment.

So where is this industry today in terms of H, S and E performance?
Our 2019 Health and Safety report published last week provided an informed view, outlining areas where we must continue to drive action,
And while there are ongoing improvements in aviation safety, there is much more to be done to reduce major hydrocarbon releases,
The downward trend in HCRs shown in a three-year moving average plateaued in 2018,
Meaning that if the rate continues the current trajectory this year there will be an increase – that would be the first in a decade.

It’s a badge we don’t want, and one which we are working hard to avoid,
And so, with our members, the regulator, Step Change in Safety and the MER Asset Integrity Task Group,
OGUK on behalf of industry has developed a robust release prevention plan.

With actions underway or under consideration across people, processes and plant, endorsing principles in process safety leadership, – the first time in my North Sea history that our industry has aligned behind a common set of process leadership principles and I commend all those involved who have got us here.
We are also sharing Good Practice Stories, and, establishing a common way of assuring our barriers to prevent incidents remain fit for purpose,
And always – We should remind ourselves that the report’s findings are not just numbers on a page – they are about ourselves, our colleagues, friends, family.
Which is why I am also really pleased that OGUK is working across industry to improve understanding of mental health. Our review of good practice, based on a survey of members, showed that industry is making progress.
Because as one in four of us will experience a mental health problem each year, it is key that we continue to develop our understanding and response,
Looking to the future this is an industry also focused on its environmental performance and intent on improving it.

While we continue to manage and reduce emissions from production operations, we know there is much more to be done in a world which rightly demands change at an ever-increasing pace. How we step up to this challenge has never been more highly scrutinized. Extinction Rebellion, Greta Thunberg, but also, people like you and me, and our children,
Worried about climate change -rightly – and keen to act, we all have a role to play, personally and professionally. And given our job in providing the energy and industrial products from oil and gas that the UK needs, I can understand why people are looking to us for answers.

Our message remains – we can be, and must be, part of the solution.

Earlier this year we published Roadmap 2035: A Blueprint to Net Zero, which sets out the five key areas requiring collective action from industry, government and regulators to ensure we step forward successfully towards a net zero future,
Helping to deliver net zero by 2045 in Scotland and 2050 in the UK,
By developing people and skills,
Driving technology and innovation,
Growing the economy and exports
And doing it in a way which is safe, sustainable and yes,
Socially acceptable.

And so, in identifying steps to understand and reduce emissions from production operations – the launch of the OGTC’s Net Zero Solutions centre is an excellent example of industry in action to provide a key source of innovative expertise. By bringing industry together with one response and a way forward to adapt and transform and step up to play our part in a net zero world, Roadmap 2035 offers a credible plan of action towards a successful future
It shows the next generation the opportunities this industry can offer. Whether that’s through electrifying the North Sea, developing a hydrogen economy or successfully delivering carbon capture usage and storage solutions – we need to do all of this and at pace.
It’s great we have Sam Coupland who later this afternoon will give an insight into the practical steps BP are taking to advance low carbon in the North Sea,
With an audience of so many professionals here in the room today I hope we can also soak up some of your expertise on the energy transition
Please do come and speak to our membership team at our stand and tell us about the work you are doing in these areas. So, helping us as we continue to engage with governments, regulators and society.

Showing that we are indeed part of the solution.Using our skills, capabilities and our people to unlock a diverse energy mix and be a foundation to a net zero future.
My ask of you all today is to help us promote the Roadmap, to take it into your companies and think about what you’re doing that can put us on track to success,
Indeed, to solve tomorrow’s challenges today,
As Abraham Lincoln said – the best way to predict the future is to create it,
I’d like to open the conference now and get on with hearing from our speakers and kicking off what I hope will be an invigorating day which sparks new ideas,
So, I wish you all a great conference and hope you take a lot from it,
And now it is my great pleasure to welcome on stage, Martin Temple. Chair of the HSE,
Thank you.

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