US regulator to fine TransCanada

Keystone Pipeline

A US regulator has sent TransCanada a letter outlining 62 probable deficiencies on its Keystone pipeline.

The Calgary-based energy company faces up to $187,200 in fines for the alleged errors.

In a letter sent to the firm’s president, the US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration said: “TransCanada failed to conduct tests to monitor the protected pipeline at least once each calendar year, but with intervals not exceeding 15 months. According to TransCanada’s records, fifty-one (51) required annual cathodic protection test station readings were not taken from 2010 to 2012 on the East Leg of Keystone from Steel City, Nebraska to Patoka, Illinois. Twenty-three (23) were from Steele City to Salisbury and the other twenty-eight 28 were from Salisbury to Patoka.

“TransCanada provided no rational for the failure to conduct and record the required testing.”

TransCanada has 30 days from the Nov 20 letter to respond to the allegations.

A firm spokesperson said: “In co-operation and consultation with PHMSA from the outset, TransCanada believes it has fully addressed all of the historical concerns raised in the notice, which date back several years.

“It is important to note that this is not a final order and penalty and as such we are reviewing the notice and determining our response at this time.”

Written by Rita Brown


PetroChemical Boom in Texas - Petrochemical Plant Construction to Create 10,000 Jobs

Petrochemical plant

ExxonMobil and Chevron Phillips are both spending $5 billion to build two new petrochemical plants in the Houston area, which will provide 10,000 construction jobs.

ExxonMobil and Chevron Phillips are both spending $5 billion to build two new petrochemical plants in the Houston area, which will provide 10,000 construction jobs over the course of three years, reports The Houston Chronicle.

The construction projects are part of a large petrochemical construction boom in Texas. In total, 84 projects worth about $45 billion are being built. Programs are being developed to help train the huge labor force that will be needed for the projects. 


Caspian Sea oil rig fire - Azeri disaster


Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev has declared a day of national mourning as state-owned oil company SOCAR declares that 29 workers are missing and presumed dead, after its oil platform in the Caspian Sea caught fire on Friday.

On Sunday, SOCAR revealed one worker had died and 33 rescued, out of its 62 member of staff present on the oil rig. 29 people remain unnacounted for.

Khoshbakht Usifzade, SOCAR vice-president, said in news conference: "we continue the search-and-rescue operation ... We regard those whom we have not found so far as missing."

Mr Usifzade added they were also looking for three workers who had been swept into the sea in a separate incident on another oil platform on Friday.

Khalig Mamedov, another vice president of the oil company said: "Despite all the efforts, regrettably, no one has been found... this is the biggest tragedy in SOCAR's history."


Regarded as the worst offshore disaster since Piper Alpha

Cramer: OPEC meeting ‘devastating’ for US

U.S. oil companies are going to be in a world of pain for a long time, especially after the latest OPEC meeting, CNBC's Jim Cramer said Monday.

"This is not 'longer and lower;' this is 'longer and much lower.' There's companies that are not going to be able to fund with futures; there're companies that are not going to be able to get credit," Cramer said on "Squawk on the Street."

Cramer made his remarks after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries decided not to lower production on Friday.

"This was a devastating blow for the U.S. oil industry," Cramer said.

OPEC's decision pushed oil prices lower on Monday, with U.S. crude futures falling over 3 percent in mid-morning trade. Internationally traded Brent also hit a 6½-year low.

"There is no cartel," Cramer said of OPEC. "The cartel was meant to keep the price controlled. They ended the cartel, and that's why this is happening."

US crude futures in 2015

US crude futures in 2015

Oil Glut: How to Tell When It’s Really Time to Worry


Record global oil inventory has sparked fears of a further sharp price drop as storage is exhausted, but futures prices suggest those fears are premature.

“Fill ’er up,” a refrain that usually makes oilmen smile, is taking on an ominous tone for the energy industry.

There is now so much crude oil being pumped world-wide amid such tepid demand that producers are fretting over the possibility of a further sharp downward move in prices. The 93 million barrel question is how much more space there is to put it all and whether storage will be exhausted before the market is balanced.

Were that to happen, it could cause the oil-price rout to grow even uglier. For now, that prospect looks to still be a ways off even if the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, which meets this week, fails to curb output.

Yes, inventories are at unheard of levels. The International Energy Agency said last month that they kept climbing in September when they usually decline. But, despite reams of data on developed countries from the IEA and other agencies, traders still have only a hazy idea of how much space is left world-wide. This is because of less reliable data from developing nations when it comes to storage capacity.

One sign that there is nowhere left to stash oil on land would be the widespread use of so-called floating storage—putting it on supertankers with nowhere to go.

by Spencer Jakab



Fundão dam burst exposes failings in Brazil’s mining industry

A dozen killed and homes are flooded as a Dam bursts in Mariana, Brazil    Photo: Mariana Fire Department

A dozen killed and homes are flooded as a Dam bursts in Mariana, Brazil 
Photo: Mariana Fire Department

The valley – after which Vale, Brazil’s largest mining company and joint owner of the collapsed dam, was named – had become not just bitter but also potentially toxic.

Inspection of the dams, such as that which gave way in Mariana, is the responsibility of the National Department of Minerals Research (DNPM), with Brazilian media this week reporting that only around 400 of the country’s 15,000 dams were surveyed last year. A report by the National Water Agency found only 11pc of the registered dams in Brazil had been classified according to the degree of potential damage.

Two of the players in the mining joint ventures have been set up as standalone companies with equity shared between BHP and its partners.

BHP’s partners in the Antamina mine are Glencore, Teck Resources and Mitsubishi. BHP, Glencore and Anglo American each have a third share in Cerrejon.

Read more

Safety on Oil and Gas Offshore Helidecks

birds on oil platforms - helipads

Oil and gas stakeholders collaborate to repel birds from offshore installations and maintain safety.

Offshore installations provide birds with a perfect landing spot. However, their presence is a globally recognized problem because, if left undisturbed, guano build up can reduce the safety of helidecks. To address this, Bird Control Group, CHC Helicopter and Total E&P Nederland (a subsidiary of the French energy company Total) collaborated to develop and install an automated laser and sound system to repel birds in an animal friendly manner.

The Aerolaser Helipad is an automated device that combines laser and sound to keep birds at distance from helidecks. The system can be configured to the specific conditions of an installation and has minimal impact on the environment.

Steinar Henskes, CEO of Bird Control Group, says that Total E&P Nederland shared its extensive offshore knowledge and gave financial support to his company to develop the system.

'By implementing this bird repelling system, Total is the first oil company in the world to integrate its offshore activities with nature in such a sustainable way', said Mr. Henskes.

The technology used for this device to repel birds has the support of the World Wildlife Fund. Total E&P Nederland chose to partner with Bird Control Group due to the group's broad experience in bird control across the aviation sector and at industrial sites.

'We are always looking to improve safety across our operations. We are proud to be the first company to install the device and we are confident it will help to improve health and safety on our platforms,' said Yvonne Hoddenbach, Manager PR & Communications of Total E&P Nederland.

Total is working with Bird Control Group to install the bird scaring system at three other locations.

'The UK CAP437 and ICAO regulations mandate a clear visibility of navigation marks and lights. Guano can obscure these markings', said Jack van Sligter, Helideck Inspector at CHC Helicopter.

'We want to provide our crew and passengers with safe working conditions, and this includes a safe landing offshore', said Mr van Sligter. 'Pilots are glad to see actions are being taken to improve the situation.'

According to the report 'Bird guano accumulations and their effect on offshore helicopter operations' by the UK Civil Aviation Authority, all UK operators experience problems with birds on offshore sites. There have been cases of as much as 90 percent coverage of an installation by guano. The annual cost of cleaning a helideck of guano can amount to 100,000 Euros per platform.


Celebrating the Work of Andrew Hopkins


On the occasion of Celebrating the Work of Andrew Hopkins, FutureMedia wishes to acknowledge the influence and changes brought to its business through its collaboration with Professor Hopkins.

FutureMedia’s initial contact with Professor Hopkins was at the Australian National University where he offered a course on “The Sociology of Disasters”. We provided a number of video case studies from the BBC Disaster Series to be used in the course. Quite ahead of its time, Andrew secured an intranet licence for delivery of the content to students, the first BBC title to be so licenced.

Following his appearance at the Royal Commission into the Exxon explosion at Longford, Andrew wrote the book Lessons from Longford. This lead to our first collaboration with Andrew and the development of the DVD based training package- Preventing Disaster: Learning from Longford.

Andrew’s next book Safety Culture and Risk received high recognition and captured a wide audience.

“Andrew Hopkins is a consummate storyteller as well as being an internationally known expert on the breakdown of hazardous socio-technical systems. I believe that only stories such as are told here can capture the subtle influences of organisational culture and embrace the complex interactions between causes and conditions.” Professor James Reason

FutureMedia then commenced distribution of the books as a world-wide reseller.
Following on from increasing requests for Professor Hopkins from organisations, FutureMedia was appointed to represent his speaking engagements exclusively. This led to extensive travel by Andrew and added a new dimension to the FutureMedia business.

Growing interest in safety culture led to collaboration in the development of the Creating a Mindful Organisation DVD package. The case study illustrating safety culture was based on his next book- Lessons from Gretley. This program is used worldwide and has been versioned into ten languages.

The unfortunate incident at BP Texas City in 2005 resulted in Andrew being contracted to the US Chemical Board to instruct the staff investigators. Following the publication of the book Failure to Learn- the BP Texas City Disaster we developed with Andrew a two part DVD training program- Mindful Leadership- with Reference to BP Texas City and Mindful Leadership- Communication Skills.

In 2009 the next book Learning from High Reliability Organisations led to further worldwide book sales.

The US Chemical Board again contracted Andrew following the Gulf of Mexico incident.  

The book Disastrous Decisions: the Human and Organisational Causes of the Gulf of Mexico Blowout received an overwhelming response with more than 4,000 copies shipped worldwide. Again, this lead to the development of training packages- Macondo Blowout and The Falling Dominos of Macondo. The package is being translated into Russian, German and Swedish.
The 2014 publication Nightmare Pipeline Failures: Fantasy Planning, Black Swan and Integrity Management (co-author Jan Hayes) is yet another book currently being marketed internationally.

FutureMedia released SafetyTalks in 2014. SafetyTalks incorporates all the learning from the different DVD packages developed with Professor Hopkins. This is a training package of succinct, content-rich ‘safety moment’ sessions comprising short videos each focusing on a different topic, in which Professor Hopkins discusses important concepts that support a wide range of safety training initiatives.

In summary, through its association with Professor Hopkins, the business of FutureMedia has assumed new dimensions. From a business dealing mostly with Personal Safety nationally, it has now morphed to focus on Process Safety with major clients worldwide. It has provided Process Training content and courses (now in many languages) around the world. The complete realignment of FutureMedia could only have happened due to the work of Andrew Hopkins.

“Professor Hopkins is a major national asset. His work on the causes of major accidents has made him internationally known- an element of our national capacity to internationally “punch above our weight””. Kim Beazley, Chancellor, Australian National University.

What led Andrew Hopkins to write?

Andrew’s presentations worldwide included the following companies: ABB, Abu Dhabi Gas , Anglo American , BC Hydro , BP , Centrica , Conoco Phillips , Corus , DNV Energy, Dow Corning , Gasco , Husky Energy , National Energy Board of Canada,  Petrofac , Qatar Gas , Ras Gas , Shell , Statoil , Total , Wood Group, Worley Parsons , Xstrata Coal.
Presentations have been conducted in thefollowing countries: Australia, Belgium, Brunei¸ Brazil , Canada , Hong Kong , India , Malaysia , Netherlands , New Zealand , Nigeria , Norway , Oman , Qatar , Singapore , UK , United Arab Emirates , USA.


Pennsylvania DEP releases first pipeline infrastructure report draft


Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection released the first draft of its pipeline infrastructure taskforce report, and will accept public comments for 30 days beginning Nov. 14.

“This draft report is the culmination of hundreds, if not thousands, of hours of work done by the members of this task force and by the volunteers on the 12 work groups,” said PDEP Sec. John Quigley, who chairs the taskforce which Gov. Tom Wolf (D) formed earlier this year (OGJ Online, May 29, 2015).

The work groups developed 184 recommendations are in the first draft, he said. “[They] have been put together by the sectors affected by pipeline development,” Quigley said. “Agriculture, communities, environmentalists, cultural resource advocates, industry officials, emergency responders, and local, state, and federal agencies and more are all represented in these pages.”

He said it is important to remember that the first draft is not meant to be the final word, and that it will be discussed at the taskforce’s next scheduled meeting on Nov. 18 at PDEP’s South Central Regional office in Harrisburg.

“When we present our report to the governor in February 2016, I anticipate that the next step will be to determine the feasibility and implementation strategies for each recommendation,” Quigley said.

Related article - NPD gives go-ahead for Edvard Grieg production start-up

Mining company takes Hunter land battle to Supreme Court


A hearing over a long running dispute between a Hunter Valley farmer and a coal company planning an expansionbegan in Sydney in October.

The Land and Environment Court previously ruled Yancoal's Ashton South East open cut coal mine can only go ahead if Wendy Bowman agrees to sell her property.

82 year old Ms Bowman does not want to sell.

Yancoal will argue in court that the previous judge did not have the power to impose the condition on the project.

Ms Bowman said she is too concerned about the local environment to consider selling up.

In an interview aired on Channel 10 on the 10th November she said, "If something goes wrong with this permeability barrier that they want to put in between the pit and the creek, what do the people downstream of me do if they can't use that water?"

Ms Bowman has been fighting against the mine expansion for years.

She argues her tiny community of Camberwell has already been decimated and need to be protected.

"It's virtually starting a new mine, for a little seven year mine," she said.

"And why? With Yancoal, their five mines are all working at a loss."


Oil-worker strike hits Brazilian refineries

Oil refinery Petrobas Brazil

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Brazil's oil-worker union (FUP) called for a strike on Sunday, covering all of Petrobras's operations, including its refineries.

FUP called the strike to protest the company's business plan for 2015-2019, which cut spending by 37% to $130.3bn as compared with the previous 2014-2018 plan.

For downstream and distribution operations, Petrobras plans to spend $12.8bn, versus $38.7bn in its previous plan.

If Petrobras continues making cuts, it could threaten the creation of 20m jobs by 2019, FUP said.

Already, 15,000 metal workers in the nation's shipbuilding industry have lost their jobs during the first half of the year, the union said. The cuts threaten 30,000 jobs in Brazil's petrochemical sector. Thousands of outsourced workers have either lost their jobs or face the prospects of becoming unemployed.

The union named eight refineries that are participating in the strike. Workers in the states of Minas Gerais and Parana were to join the strike on Monday.

In addition to fuel, refineries also produce feedstock for petrochemicals. It is unclear if or how the strike will affect raw materials in Brazil.

The country's largest petrochemical producer, Braskem, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Petrobras said contingency teams were operating in some of its plants, without specifying which ones. Other plants are being blocked.

The company is taking all measures to maintain production and guarantee supplies to the market, Petrobras said.

Source:ICIS News

8 Oil & Gas spills in 12 days

The following spills were reported to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission in the two weeks October 16-30.

Information is based on Form 19, which operators must fill out detailing the leakage/spill events. Any spill release that may impact waters of the state must be reported as soon as practical. Any spill of five barrels or more must be reported within 24 hours, and any spill of one barrel or more, which occurs outside secondary containment, such as metal or earthen berms, must also be reported within 24 hours, according to COGCC rules.

EXTRACTION OIL & GAS LLC, reported Oct. 19 that a flow line leak was discovered near Greeley. Between one and five barrels of oil spilled.

NOBLE ENERGY INC, reported Oct. 19 that oil and produced water lines developed a leak near Kersey. Between one and five barrels of oil and produced water spilled.

NOBLE ENERGY INC, reported Oct. 19 that an unintentional release occurred during removal of a water vault near LaSalle. Between one and five barrels of produced water spilled.

NOBLE ENERGY INC, reported Oct. 19 that an unintentional release was discovered during plugging and abandonment near LaSalle. Between one and five condensate and produced water spilled.

DCP MIDSTREAM LP, reported Oct. 20 that a gas gathering line is suspected of leaking near Keenesburg. Between one and five barrels of condensate spilled.

NOBLE ENERGY INC, reported Oct. 24 that oil spilled when a contractor was draining water from a production tank and forgot to shut off a valve near Grover. About 69 barrels of oil spilled.

BAYSWATER EXPLORATION AND PRODUCTION LLC, reported Oct. 26 that a historical release was discovered while doing work on a tank battery near Greeley. An unknown amount of oil and produced water spilled.

SYNERGY RESOURCES CORP., reported Oct. 30 that historical soil hydrocarbon impacts were discovered near Milliken. An unknown amount of produced water was spilled.


The Future of Safety is Bright Conference 2015

Professor Andrew Hopkins

Professor Andrew Hopkins

Professor Andrew Hopkins will be a keynote speaker at the IFAP Health and Safety Conference 2015.

10 NOVEMBER 2015 - 08:45
Keynote: The Use and Abuse of Culture
Andrew Hopkins - Emeritus Professor of Sociology, Australian National University



10 NOVEMBER 2015 - 09:45
SafetyManagement: A Control Focused Approach
Peter Wilkinson - General Manager: Risk, Noetic Group

For further information on this event please visit the official conference website at
or contact IFAP on +61 8 9333 9999
or email


Fishbones AS to showcase new oil and gas technology

oil platform

An innovative technology that produces a tenfold increase in the output of oil and gas wells will be showcased at a gathering of some of the region’s top energy professionals this week.

The Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Aberdeen Section will hear how multilateral stimulation technology (MST) could be utilised to further exploit hydrocarbon reserves in the North Sea.

The technical presentation, which will outline how the technology has been used elsewhere, will be delivered by Eirik Renli, CEO at Fishbones AS.

Shankar Bhukya, SPE Aberdeen chairman, said, “The difficulties the North Sea is currently facing has only emphasised the importance of developing new and innovative technologies that maximise production through the full recovery of remaining hydrocarbon reserves. This presentation from Fishbones AS will explain how its new technology can achieve this, while crucially reducing costs.”

MST is an open hole liner completion that connects the well and the reservoir without the drawbacks of hydraulic fracturing.  The new stimulation technology, developed in cooperation with major operators, has proven to be successful in both tight carbonate and tight sandstone reservoirs. The presentation will cover the basics of the technology, the development projects and global case histories.

By Joey Mechelle Stenner


Low oil and gas prices could slash Australian LNG revenue by half, Oil Search boss says

The boss of one of Australia's biggest oil and gas firms says the big fall in oil and liquefied natural gas prices over the past year could see Australia's future export earnings from the LNG boom cut by 50 per cent.

Australia is set to rival the gulf state of Qatar as one of the world's largest LNG producers in a few years time, with earnings of as much as $70 billion in 2018 from LNG exports once predicted.

But the managing director of the Australian listed Oil Search, which owns nearly one third of one of Papua New Guinea's major resources projects, PNG LNG, said Australian Government revenue from the LNG boom could be far less than expected.

"It will be a very good revenue but a lot less than originally thought," Peter Botten said in an interview with the ABC's PM program on the sidelines of last week's Citi Australian and New Zealand Investment Conference in Sydney.

"Australia is a world scale LNG producer and when these major projects are completed, Gorgon, Wheatstone, Ichthys, Australia will have a huge revenue stream from LNG and a very important revenue stream and a very important industry for the country.

"However, if the oil price is halved and the gas prices have halved that revenue stream will be a lot less than was anticipated even 18 months ago."

He estimated the revenue for Australia from LNG exports could be half previous estimates.

"Gas pricing has gone from $US15 in MBTU (one million British thermal units0 down to $US7, so 50 per cent less I would suggest," Mr Botten said.

By Sue Lannin

Read more

Related article: Australia's LNG projects go from bonanza to break-even

Plenty Of Oil And Gas Flows In Texas Pipelines, But Money For Safety Research?

There are 432,000 miles of pipelines in Texas carrying oil, natural gas and other liquids and gases according to the Texas Railroad Commission

There are 432,000 miles of pipelines in Texas carrying oil, natural gas and other liquids and gases according to the Texas Railroad Commission

At a time when oil and gas production is surging in Texas, the amount of money for research to make sure pipelines don’t leak and explode has been plummeting.

In the federal data we reviewed, it shows that leaks from natural gas mains are at a five year high in Texas. The number of leaks, fires and other incidents involving all oil and gas pipelines across the state have more than doubled in the past 20 years.

But as we we’re looking at these statistics, we found one number that was decreasing: the amount of money the federal government provides to Texas universities and energy companies to do pipeline safety research.

In Texas, we calculated that researchers got $8 million in federal money from 2003 through 2008. But after 2008, the research money dramatically dropped, in one year amounting to zero. And it has totaled just $1.3 million dollars for the past five years added-up.

We showed the numbers to Sam Mannan, who leads oil & gas safety research at Texas A&M.

“Yeah, that is troubling,” said Mannan.

Troubling because Mannan said a lot of pipelines are old.

“So that would mean a lot more needs to be done in terms of aging studies, risk analysis, corrosion issues,” said Mannan.

But Mannan says the industry is behind the curve on all such studies. His researchers at A&M did get initial funding to develop remote sensors that would detect and report if a pipeline had become dangerously corroded. But Mannan says he doesn’t know if they’ll get funds to finish the work.

We asked the federal pipeline safety administration why funding for Texas has dropped. By email, a spokesperson said they don’t look at it by state, but rather by which projects best meet their criteria, regardless of where the work is being done.

Federal data shows while Texas, California, and New Jersey have gotten roughly the same amount of research funds in the past decade, the state receiving by far the most was Ohio.

Four years ago, an investigative report by Hearst newspapers found that the federal agency was relying on the pipeline industry to donate funds for research and that only a few studies were into the issue of old pipelines.

By: Dave Fehling


Celebrating the Work of Andrew Hopkins

Professor Andrew Hopkins

Join us in celebrating the work of Professor Andrew Hopkins, FSIA, Emeritus Professor, The Australian National University and Adjunct Professor, RMIT University.

Professor Hopkins is an internationally acclaimed academic gaining recognition of the highest order in his field. His very readable books relevant to process safety including Disastrous Decisions, Failure to Learn, Lessons from Longford, Lessons from Gretley, and Safety, Culture and Risk. These books have become classics in the discipline and are widely read in industry together selling more than 80,000 copies. He speaks regularly to audiences around the world about the causes of major accidents.

To celebrate Professor Hopkins’ work, invited guests will speak about his influence on government, industry, academia and the safety profession.

Key speakers from around Australia and overseas will include:
> Air Chief Marshal Sir Angus Houston AK, AC, AFC

> Judith Hackitt CBE, Chair of the UK Health and Safety Executive

> Emeritus Professor Andrew Hale, former Professor of Safety Science at the Delft University of Technology and Chairman of Hastam UK

> Bill Hoyle, Senior Investigator, U.S. Chemical Safety Board; retired

> David Knox, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Santos

Professor Andrew Hopkins will speak in response.

Hosted by
School of Property, Construction and Project Management

Monday 16 November 2015

9am – 6pm
Morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea, and evening drinks will be provided

RMIT City Campus
Storey Hall (Building 16)
Level 5 Auditorium
336–348 Swanston Street

Registration is essential
Register online
To register and purchase your tickets for this event, visit:

For more information contact:
Associate Professor Jan Hayes
School of Property, Construction and Project Management

Safety Institute Australia | Energy Pipelines – CRC | Wolters Kluwer - CCH

First GLNG cargo departs Australia


The first cargo of liquefied natural gas (LNG) has left Santos’ $18.5 billion GLNG Project bound for South Korea.

A statement released by Santos today announced the first shipment, which is being carried by Malaysian-owned LNG vessel Seri Bakti.

It comes more than four years after construction on the GLNG Project first began in 2011 and marks a final milestone for outgoing Santos managing director David Knox.

Mr Knox, during a press conference at the GLNG site today, expressed his pride in reaching the first shipment “on time and within budget.”

“The first cargo from GLNG strengthens our position as a major and competitive LNG supplier to Asia,” he said.

According to Santos, which holds a 30 per cent interest in the project alongside co-venture partners PETRONAS (27.5 per cent), Total (27.5 per cent) and KOGAS (15 per cent), it took more than 95 million work hours to complete the GLNG construction.

“More than 10,000 people have worked on the project which saw more than $15 billion invested Australia-wide, including $8 billion in Queensland alone,” today’s statement said.

Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association CEO Malcolm Roberts said today’s event was another reminder that Australia is on track to become the world’s leading LNG producer by 2018.

“While the oil and gas industry faces the same headwinds as other commodities, we are resilient enough to fend off the latest industry challenges,” Dr Roberts said.

“The International Energy Agency predicts the world gas market could grow by around 30 per cent by 2030. Other producers are emerging. Our challenge now is to stay competitive.”

Production from the first GLNG train commenced in September with Train 2 expected to be ready for start-up by the end of the year.

The GLNG Project produces natural gas from Queensland’s coal seams in the Surat and Bowen Basins and converts it into LNG at its Curtis Island plant, 420 kilometres away.

Five more LNG projects valued at $160 billion are also slated for near-term completion, including Queensland’s Australia Pacific LNG project, which is expected to be commissioned by year’s end.

In 2014-15, Australia shipped 25 million tonnes of LNG cargoes, earning $16.9 billion in export revenue. In Queensland alone, almost $1.4 billion worth of LNG has been exported this year.


Fatigue in the Workplace

Why is fatigue important?

Sleeping on the job

More than 3.5 million people are employed as shift workers in the UK. They work in a wide variety of industries including the emergency services, healthcare, the utilities, transport, manufacturing (including oil, gas & chemical industries), entertainment and retail. Poorly designed shift-working arrangements and long working hours that do not balance the demands of work with time for rest and recovery can result in fatigue, accidents, injuries and ill health.

Fatigue refers to the issues that arise from excessive working time or poorly designed shift patterns. It is generally considered to be a decline in mental and/or physical performance that results from prolonged exertion, sleep loss and/or disruption of the internal clock. It is also related to workload, in that workers are more easily fatigued if their work is machine-paced, complex or monotonous.

Fatigue results in slower reactions, reduced ability to process information, memory lapses, absent-mindedness, decreased awareness, lack of attention, underestimation of risk, reduced coordination etc. Fatigue can lead to errors and accidents, ill-health and injury, and reduced productivity. It is often a root cause of major accidents e.g. Herald of Free Enterprise, Chernobyl, Texas City, Clapham Junction, Challenger and Exxon Valdez.

Fatigue has also been implicated in 20% of accidents on major roads and is said to cost the UK £115 - £240 million per year in terms of work accidents alone.

Key principles in fatigue:

Fatigue needs to be managed, like any other hazard.

It is important not to underestimate the risks of fatigue. For example, the incidence of accidents and injuries has been found to be higher on night shifts, after a succession of shifts, when shifts are long and when there are inadequate breaks.

The legal duty is on employers to manage risks from fatigue, irrespective of any individual’s willingness to work extra hours or preference for certain shift patterns for social reasons. Compliance with the Working Time Regulations alone is insufficient to manage the risks of fatigue.

Changes to working hours need to be risk assessed. The key considerations should be the principles contained in HSE’s guidance. Risk assessment may include the use of tools such as HSE’s ‘fatigue risk index’.

Employees should be consulted on working hours and shift patterns. However, note that employees may prefer certain shift patterns that are unhealthy and likely to cause fatigue.

Develop a policy that specifically addresses and sets limits on working hours, overtime and shift-swapping, and which guards against fatigue.

Implement the policy and make arrangements to monitor and enforce it. This may include developing a robust system of recording working hours, overtime, shift-swapping and on-call working.

Problems with overtime and shift-swapping may indicate inadequate resource allocation and staffing levels.

There are many different shift work-schedules and each schedule has different features. This sheer diversity of work and workplaces means that there is no single optimal shift system that suits everyone. However, a planned and systematic approach to assessing and managing the risks of shift work can improve the health and safety of workers.

There are a number of key risk factors in shift schedule design, which must be considered when assessing and managing the risks of shift work. These are the workload, the work activity, shift timing and duration, direction of rotation and the number and length of breaks during and between shifts. Other features of the workplace environment such as the physical environment, management issues and employee welfare can also contribute to the risks associated with shift work.

Sleep disturbances can lead to a ‘sleep debt’ and fatigue. Night workers are particularly at risk of fatigue because their day sleep is often lighter, shorter and more easily disturbed because of daytime noise and a natural reluctance to sleep during daylight.


View the Fatigue Management video

Fill in the form below to inquire more about the Induction Series and to purchase videos from this series.

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Sanctions could lead to restructuring of Russian oil industry


While Russia is continuing to pump crude oil at record levels, producing on average 10.685 million barrels per day in 2015, the continuous pressure from US/EU sanctions is having an impact on the strategic course of Russian oil and gas industry, says an analyst with research and consulting firm GlobalData.

According to Anna Belova, Ph.D., GlobalData's Senior Upstream Analyst covering the Former Soviet Union, Russia’s response to the sanctions is centered on addressing the issues it faces without affecting its strong production numbers.

Beolva explains: “In addition to strengthening and extending geopolitical ties on the international stage, Russia’s oil and gas industry is actively seeking foreign participation in the domestic sector and lobbying for legal incentives to foreign investments.

“While domestic and foreign entities could provide capital inflow for the Russian upstream sector, both would require regulatory changes, and the sanctions could provide the impetus for a restructuring of the subsoil law.”

GlobalData states that an amendment to the subsoil law being discussed in the Russian government would ensure that foreign investors discovering fields with a federally significant reserve base will be guaranteed a mechanism to secure a production license.

Belova comments: “The proposed legal warranty is expected to incentivize both exploration and production of Russian reserves by foreign investors, and the participation limit in federally important projects by foreign investors might increase upward to 49% of equity as advocated by some lobbying interests.

“Aside from the subsoil law changes, some modifications to the Russian tax code were also recently proposed by the country’s Ministry of Finance. However, the modifications were aimed at increasing tax revenues, not incentivizing investments. The Russian oil and gas industry succeeded in resolutely pushing back against the higher tax burden, predicting a fall in production in response.”

The analyst also notes that with the decade-long expansion by Russian oil and gas companies into international projects intensifying over the past year, many of the new international partnerships are building on established relationships from Soviet-era involvement in global upstream and downstream projects.

Beolva continues: “Many of the recent alliances targeted exploration and production of crude oil and gas, as well as refining and processing of hydrocarbons.

“The latest partnership has Mr. Sechin, the executive chairman of Rosneft, returning to Mozambique, the country that began his career, where Rosneft has filed bids jointly with ExxonMobil to participate in Mozambique’s fifth licensing round,” the analyst concludes.