From personnel and environmental safety to financial solvency, operational risks in the oil and gas industry wait at every turn. Companies in the industry work to mitigate those risks through effective risk management strategies.
Drilling platforms represent one area laden with risk. Drilling project complexity is increasing as the industry moves to smaller, more difficult to reach wells. From subsea wells to hydraulic fracturing extractions, producers must carefully manage project resources and effectively assess operational complexity to keep risk levels low. If not, cost overruns and inefficient operations will threaten business stability. A sound risk management plan for these increasingly complex wells includes more fluid project management (that can allocate and transfer resources rapidly) and more effective integration of technologies (PDF) that can “improve decision making across the entire enterprise from field to refinery.”
Upstream producers are not the only ones requiring better risk management strategies, however. Oil and gas endeavors across the entire spectrum must manage risks on a daily basis. Pipeline developers must accurately assess the various consequences of pipeline failure at an appropriate threshold. Offshore rig operators must make tough risk-based decisions as well, including the management of an effective evacuation plan that takes into account both safety and production. Refineries must also examine equipment degradation and potential gaps in safety protocol to mitigate their operational risks.
The topic of risk management has become so important that several conferences and workshops have been created to address concerns of risk. The Pipeline Pigging & Integrity Management Conference this past February hosted an Advanced Pipeline Risk Management course and the International Risk Management Institute holds several risk-themed conferences every year, for example.