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Drilling It Safely

Caterpillar eases Tier 4 transition with 3512E engine

The 3512E, Caterpillar’s Tier 4-compliant engine, has a similar skid size to the commonly used 3512C for an easier transition from Tier 2 to Tier 4 engines.

By the end of 2017, drilling contractors will need to have transitioned to engines compliant with the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Tier 4 standards for non-road diesel engines. The EPA’s flexibility provisions had allowed onshore drillers and OEMs in North America to continue using Tier 2 engines, but the flexibility period will end next year.

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OESI panel encourages more engineering, training for alarm management

From left are Evelyn Baldwin, Human Factors Lead Instructor at Maersk Training; Jarvis Outlaw, Petroleum Engineer at the US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE); Trent Martin, Senior Manager – Technical Support Service at Transocean; Mike Fairburn, Operations Manager at Shell; and Eddie Habibi, Founder and CEO of PAS. The panelists participated in the Ocean Energy Safety Institute forum, “Focusing on Alarm Management for Safer Offshore Operations,” held on 24 August in Houston. Bob Blank (right), Vice President Operational Excellence at Noble Drilling, moderated the panel discussion on alarm management at the forum.

By Alex Endress, Editorial Coordinator Today’s offshore drilling rigs are highly complex and equipped with numerous digitized and interconnected systems. To monitor the functionality of these systems, rigs have also been equipped with numerous alarms – some that are safety- and mission-critical, and some that aren’t. Deciphering which alarms are critical and reacting accordingly is a matter of proper engineering and training, both of which were discussed at an Ocean Energy Safety Institute (OESI) forum, “Focusing on Alarm Management for Safer Offshore Operations,” held on 24 August in Houston. “Alarm fatigue or alert fatigue occurs when one is exposed to a large number of frequent alarms and consequently becomes desensitized to them,” Bob Blank, Vice President Operational Excellence at Noble ...

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Garvin: Systems, processes must be in place to keep workers safe as rigs go back to work

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It’s been approximately 20 months since the downturn began, and uncertainty persists over how much longer the market will remain depressed. Dayrates are down by approximately 40% on average, and many contractors are operating on negative margins. Some have even been pushed out of the market altogether, Mike Garvin, Senior Vice President, Operation Support at Patterson-UTI, said at the 2016 IADC Asset Integrity and Reliability Conference on 31 August in Houston. “Back at the peak, there were 171 drilling contractors operating at least one rig in the United States. Today, we're at 87, so half of the drilling contractors have quit working over the last two years,” he said.

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Exception-based remote monitoring incorporates intelligence to enable early detection of well control events

Figure 1: Data shows that most well control incidents are the result of human factors, such as misinterpretation of data, delayed response to abnormal well conditions, inexperience or physical fatigue. Exception-based monitoring of real-time data by remote operators can help reduce the risk of well control incidents resulting from human factors by increasing the operational awareness of drilling crews.

Industry statistics suggest that the majority of well control incidents and near-misses occur during well construction operations. To address this issue, the industry has focused on stringent well design and casing standards, blowout prevention equipment, safe drilling practices and multiple layers of workflows and controls. However, the data also shows that most well control incidents occur as a result of human factors – misinterpretation of data, delayed response to abnormal well conditions, drilling crew inexperience and physical fatigue – that are not addressed by hydraulics and mechanical well control mechanisms.

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HSE&T Corner: Hard hat uses transparent visor to increase workers’ peripheral vision

National Oilwell Varco estimates the AboveView Hard Hat could increase workers’ upper peripheral vision by about 50%. The idea for the hat was hatched during a rig tour in 2009 when an NOV employee was climbing a ladder and bumped into a colleague above him, nearly causing both to fall from 20 ft above the ground.

With the multitude of safety-related challenges that workers face in the upstream oil and gas industry, any improvement in a worker’s ability to be aware of their surroundings can make a difference when it comes to keeping themselves and others out of harm’s way. To address this, National Oilwell Varco (NOV) and Bullard are introducing a hard hat designed to increase workers’ upper peripheral vision.

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Be a safety hero: Join the IADC HSE Case rewrite

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Even in these uncertain times, safety is the bottom line, and the folks who help us save lives at work, play and home are my safety heroes. Industry deserves kudos for advancing personal safety, and for the changes in safety culture that have saved life and limb. Check the latest stats from the IADC ISP program. 2015 struck a milestone as the first year with zero US onshore fatalities since the voluntary reporting program kicked off in 1962 (p 66).

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Enhanced well control course integrates technical training with simulator exercises, human factors

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IADC is developing a new accreditation program for enhanced well control training that emphasizes human factors and enhanced simulation-based exercises. Between January and July of this year, Rowan Companies and Maersk Training piloted a course that could serve as a basis for this program.

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ABS, partners test Polar Code requirements through search and rescue exercise offshore Norway

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In April, ABS partnered with the Norwegian coast guard, academic institutions and other stakeholder companies to perform a search and rescue exercise in Svalbard, Norway. The University of Stavanger, Company GMC and the Norwegian Coast Guard organized the exercise, which took place on the K V Svalbard, a Norwegian Coast Guard vessel. The exercise was conducted to gain a better understanding of the IMO Polar Code’s requirements, which many in the industry regard as vague, according to ABS. For example, the code requires the crews of maritime vessels, including drilling rigs, to be equipped be able to survive five days in polar waters while awaiting rescue. There was concern about whether this was even possible with existing equipment, said ABS ...

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