High-Risk High-Reward: Hydrocarbon exploration in frontier markets – a safety roulette?
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In the high-risk high-reward industry of oil & gas, the prerequisite is a safety focused managed strategies and operation. Given Zanzibar’s two other main income industries being offshore related, tourism and fishing, the decision makers need to pull off a rabbit of hat when introducing this new oil & gas industry in to their country. In this complex system of hydrocarbon exploration there are elements in that system that compromise of technical, societal and environmental, each with its root causes for failure and successions. Taking into account these complexities, there is a need for safety case regime – a safety management system compromising identifying the potential hazards, hazardous events, designing control system and ensuring its effectiveness. With the research question in mind, How does a developing country government handle risk when exploring for hydrocarbon? The focus is how safety management can be utilized in managing this sector with its socio-technical system where decision-making in the ‘blunt-end’ can result in discrepancies in the lower levels of the ‘sharp-end’ leading to conflict and information mismatch. Understanding the concepts of safety management and the complexities it endures when taking in the context of the socio-technical system and its decision gates is vital to grasp the procedure of opening up for an oil & gas exploration in a frontier market. The concept of complexity in decision-making in a high-risk industry is the cornerstone of this paper. The theories presented is to lay a foundation for what risks that might occur in developing this industry in a vulnerable society. The research ambition with this paper is to make a contribution to the importance of highlighting safety management as a tool in the planning of hydrocarbon exploration.
Master's thesis in Risk Management and Societal Safety