The oil and gas industry is in danger of getting bogged down in key performance indicators (KPIs), a safety chief from Shell said yesterday.
Norbert van Beelen, Shell’s vice president of wells safety and environment, said that while it was important to measure performance, companies were wasting time gathering superfluous metrics.
He said: “We need to manage it because KPI is becoming an industry on its own.
“Certain metrics are needed so we understand where we are going, but there needs to be a purpose. We need to be deliberate about what we are choosing.
“We are not going to get away from it (KPIs) but we really need to manage the amount of work and effort we are putting into getting these numbers.
“As an industry we are spending far too much time on it.”
Mr van Beelen was speaking at an event organised by Shell to share information about advances in North Sea well process safety.
Delivering the keynote speech at Woodbank House, Aberdeen, he said workers had to understand their roles and have the right level of competence to fulfil them.
He said everyone should think of themselves as a “barrier” for preventing mishaps that can have catastrophic consequences.
Citing a personal example, Mr van Beelen told delegates about a time when he fell short during the testing of a well’s commercial viability, causing the temporary failure of a safety process.
“Luckily,” he said, the lapse only led to a small brine spill.
“If one person does not do the job properly, the barrier fails,” he said.
Mr van Beelen also said ensuring safety had to be a collective effort between operators, drilling contractors and service companies − and that the process needs to start in an office onshore, not on a rig.
He said one of the biggest hurdles to achieving a fully integrated approach was the difficulty companies have in understanding their project partners’ competence levels.
He did say some companies were already looking beyond their own duties and were asking questions about their partners’ responsibilities, but that there was still a “long way to go” in this regard.
Mr van Beelen added: “Well safety failures in our industry are few and far between, but when they do occur they are catastrophic.
“If there is anything we can do to make the workplace safer, I think we should always invest the time. That’s why it’s important for us to work together on process safety.”