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When protecting environment, 'everywhere is sensitive'

Posted on 14 May 2009

 Dr Ian Hudson, Transocean

“There’s a lot of confusion,” said Dr Hudson. “But what a drilling rig can do and how it does it is very specific and the practices are well understood.”

Directing his comments at NGOs such as Norway’s Future in Our Hands, he said: “Drilling is to enable well construction … the impacts are known and understood. We construct wells, put holes in the seafloor.”

Dr Hudson insisted that drilling companies have a good grip on their collective responsibility to environment.

“We do have an impact on the environment, everywhere we go. We understand that. The important thing is to understand that we do have an impact.”

He said too that the increasing focus on safety is also paying off in environmental terms as the two are complementary. Not only that, drilling companies are getting smarter at resource utilisation. 

“We use less resource to do the same amount of work, and the environmental focus increases every year, and I don’t see that slowing at all.

“There is no one size fits all. The key is to understand the environment where you work … understand the impacts from top to bottom.

 The Arctic I, offshore Brazil. For Transocean, all environments are sensitive in their own right, said Dr Hudson.

“Every environment in which you work is unique, whether Ningaloo or the North Sea. There is no one area more sensitive than another. All environments are sensitive in their own right. The approach that we take at Transocean is that everywhere is sensitive.”

Dr Hudson pointed out that regulatory standards vary from country to country but that drilling contractors should strive to lead in that regard. However, it is also important not to be caught out by pigeonholing countries.

“Of the 34 countries in which we manage and look after legislation for work, some countries that we perceive as not having a great deal of regulation have a large amount of regulation.

“It is important to understand what the risks are, place them in context, and then manage those risks. Being responsible is good business,” he said, adding that it is good to be challenged by outside interests and to respond to those challenges by delivering solutions.

“I think this industry is ahead in the way we bring risk, people and management into the way we do our business. Bring them all together, and that’s when you start to see results. It’s a trend that I know will continue.”

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