As the world’s oil and gas industry turns it eyes towards Houston and OTC, the foremost event for the development of offshore resources in the fields of drilling, exploration and production, I find myself reflecting on how the energy landscape in the area is changing.
It has been three years since Opito established a presence in the US and the Gulf of Mexico.
In many respects (in this post-Macondo era) we have seen huge advances in terms of positive action in that time with the forging of strong relationships with oil companies, training providers and the Washington Administration to bring world-class safety training and emergency response standards to the region.
Among the landmark achievements has been the creation of an industry forum which provides the mechanism for industry to address its challenges and collaboratively map out the best way forward.
We also saw the approval of the Petrofac/NASA’s Johnson Space Center to ensure that workers undergoing helicopter escape training, basic offshore safety induction and emergency training (BOSIET) at the facility are trained to the same high quality standard as workers in other major oil and gas hubs around the world.
In addition to this, we have also seen the roll-out of International Minimum Industry Safety Training (IMIST), the sister initiative to the MIST training which is commonplace in the North Sea.
Our objective for IMIST is to increase the level of safety awareness, reduce operational risk and the number of safety related incidents.
Its introduction in 2012 represented a major step forward by the oil and gas industry to introduce a global safety standard relevant to US workers as well as those working in the Middle East, Persian Gulf, West Africa and Southeast Asia.
Worthy first steps I hope you will agree and with more than 55,000 people employed in upstream activities throughout the Gulf Coast region, it is vital that this positive momentum continues.
And there is still much we hope to achieve. Houston is the energy capital of the world, however, the use of a structured standards-based framework for training, stretching from basic offshore safety through a range of specialist response roles, has not been applied in the way it has in most other exploration and production areas of the world.
There is a strong desire across the industry to proactively address the challenges around offshore safety and organisations are very receptive to using the lessons learned from other, often more mature, oil and gas hubs around the world.
As with the industry in the UK, helicopter safety training is something which is of significant interest to many in the Gulf where more than 2million people fly on more than a dozen aircraft types every year.
On this and many other safety-critical issues, Opito offers a solution which can be grasped very quickly and emulated across the region, bringing the same benefits which are being seen elsewhere to the US offshore workforce.
OTC is the catalyst for people from a diverse cross-section of companies, disciplines and sectors to come together from around the world to discuss and debate many industry challenges, innovations and breakthroughs.
Let’s make sure that safety remains at the heart of it.
David Doig is Opito Group chief executive