Risk avoidance is always good business

Life is a calculated gamble: driving, working, and even crossing the street carry some risk, however negligible. But even when the chance of an accident is low, the consequences can be quite severe. That’s why no one thinks twice about the added cost of seat belts, air bags and a host of other safety features in vehicles. In the high stakes world of oil and gas operations, risk is everywhere. Fortunately, the industry is an unsung leader in developing safety processes and raising safety awareness. Safety statistics in oil and gas are typically much better than those in comparable industries due largely to the focus of corporate HS&E departments and the commitment of executive management to creating a “safety culture”.

Risk avoidance, however, goes beyond the obvious elements addressed with sound operational processes and personal protective equipment. There is ALSO inherent risk in the actual field equipment used every day in our industry. This risk typically manifests itself in two ways:

  1. There is equipment that simply CANNOT be used in the field, because it is out of compliance with safety inspections or other certifications. The risks here are significant, and start with potentially huge fines from regulatory agencies. But fines are the least of our worries. What if there is an accident and there is a clear audit trail that shows neglect? Corporate counsel, the C-Suite, and shareholders will certainly not be amused.
  2. There is also equipment that SHOULD NOT be used in the field, because it has not been properly maintained according to prescribed policies. The risk here is usually not injury or lawsuits, it’s that a breakdown can “flat line” a key well operation. No other industry has a “time is money” equation more profound than oil and gas. In deep water drilling, where costs approach $7.00 PER SECOND, breakdowns can quickly result in losses with lots of zeros attached.

It’s a given that risk exists with non-compliant or poorly maintained field equipment. So it’s unfortunate many oil and gas companies push the cost burden for mitigating these risks to their individual business units. At the field level, optional risk avoidance systems are often viewed simply in terms of added unit P&L expense (which impacts compensation). There is little incentive for field operations executives to fund initiatives that have company-wide “holistic” benefits. At Geoforce, we believe risk avoidance for field equipment is too important to leave to superficial cost calculations. The consequences of preventable equipment related problems are so severe, it just makes sense to have effective risk avoidance systems in place. As such, we address proactive risk avoidance business processes with our upgraded Compliance Manager and Maintenance Manager applications, which focus on both the “CANNOT USE” and “SHOULD NOT USE” scenarios. These applications give visibility and control to field operators, enabling them to make sound decisions which reduce risk.

While other compliance and maintenance management solutions exist, only Geoforce’s GPS-enabled tracking solutions add the context of “time and place”. It’s not enough to know that a piece of equipment is out of compliance (or about to be), and/or that it has not been maintained properly. Field operations teams need to be able to act on this critical information, and those actions cannot be taken without knowing both status AND location. Only Geoforce provides that integrated intelligence. The peace of mind of avoiding “CANNOT USE” or “SHOULD NOT USE” situations is essential in the pursuit of operational excellence in field operations. The business case for employing these solutions is even better.