Collaboration Between Operator and Contractor in Risk Management Processes During Planning of Exploration Wells
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Drilling a new exploration well involves risk of major work accidents and considerable economic loss. Risk management is an integrated part of planning exploration wells. Collaboration between the operator and the rig contractor throughout this process is important as both parties are involved in decision processes and activities influencing risk. This Master’s Thesis is an investigation of collaboration between Equinor and the rig contractor in risk management processes during planning of exploration wells. In order to safeguard operations with zero harm to people, assets and the environment, there are several requirements and expectations to be followed throughout activities on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS): • Regulations established and enforced by the Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA) Norway • Guidelines to the regulations, e.g. industry standards such as ISO 31000 and relevant NORSOK standards • Internal processes and guidelines with both the operator and the contractor. The study has shown that the PSA expects good collaboration between involved parties. Also, inclusion of key risk management elements such as uncertainty treatment, application of the ALARP principle and barrier management is expected. ISO 31000 is used as a basis for the construction of an evaluation model investigating and analyzing aspects of the collaboration and risk management process during planning of new exploration wells. The results of the investigation have shown that the overall collaboration process between Equinor and the rig contractor works well. There is a common understanding of roles and responsibilities between the companies. However, the evaluation has shown that involvement and utilization of relevant competency and sharing of risk related information may have improvement potential throughout the planning phase. According to my observations, barrier management is integrated in the risk management process. Barrier solutions developed through well design and operational planning are important objects of risk analyses and management. Weaknesses and uncertainties related to barrier elements and systems are addressed systematically and iteratively throughout the risk management process, documented in risk analysis tools and finally Detailed Operational Procedures (DOPs). In contrast, improvement potential was revealed regarding compliance with the ALARP principle and treatment of uncertainty through the risk management process. Clarified expectations – both from the PSA and internally in Equinor related to these topics on different decision and system levels could potentially improve the practice in drilling and well projects. Complying with applicable requirements and guidelines, and sometimes even performing beyond the absolute necessary for fulfilling requirements and contractual obligations can improve not only the collaboration process between Equinor and the rig contractor, but also the risk management process. Achieving such an improvement depends on management priority.
Master's thesis in Industrial economics