Reducing Oil & Gas Methane Emissions: EPA Regulations & Data Collection

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U.S. President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently committed to specific reduction targets under the Paris Climate Conference, a legally binding agreement among 195 countries. A significant aspect of their ambitious goal is to reduce methane emissions by 40-45 percent below 2012 levels by 2025 in oil and gas operations. This target was reaffirmed on June 30 when Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto joined the commitment.

The U.S. has already begun acting on these commitments and this month the EPA issued a mandatory request for information that would help detect, measure, and mitigate emissions from the oil and gas industry. The environmental agency is also aggressively pursuing regulation of methane sources in the oil and gas sector. What does this mean for the industry, and how can companies engage effectively and prepare proactively?

To successfully address these mandates, oil and gas owners and operators must recognize that … Read more...

3 Things Overheard at the 2016 Petroleum Safety Conference

Banff Centre

Last week, the ENFORM Petroleum Safety Conference (PSC) brought oil and gas safety professionals together once again to connect with each other in beautiful Banff. Held once a year, the conference draws hundreds of participants and vendors with one purpose in mind: honoring the moral – and legal – obligation of ensuring employee safety in the oil and gas industry. Presentation topics ranged from cultivating safety culture to the challenges of addressing human error in safety programs, leaving everyone in attendance with lots of inspiration and food for thought. It’s a terrific conference to attend, made only more spectacular by the backdrop of the Rocky mountains.

I had the opportunity to attend this conference for the second year and to talk with many attendees. While everyone there had interesting stories and a unique perspective to share on the state of safety and the oil industry, I heard three common themes:

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New MSHA Mine Safety Rule, Nurses Tackle Workplace Violence and More!

On this week’s edition of EHS This Week we’ve got the week’s top stories in environment, health and safety news:

  • $2.19 Million Federal Grant Goes to Pennsylvania for Pipeline Safety
  • MSHA Proposes New Mine Safety Rule
  • Explosion at Alberta Oilsands Processing Site
  • Nurses fight back against workplace violence and bullying

Remember to write us with your suggestions, questions and comments. Also, if you are an industry expert and ever want to take part in the program, we’d love to have you. Until next week, enjoy the program!

EHS This Week Resources

For more information on the stories and resources mentioned in this week’s podcast, check out the links below.

  • MSHA Proposed Proximity Detection Rule. Click here
  • 2015 State Base Pipeline Safety Grant Program.Click here
  • Nurses fight back against workplace violence and bullying. Click here

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Read more...

Latest Oil Spill Increases Scrutiny on Pipeline Safety & Compliance

The pipeline spill in Alberta, Canada last month has reignited many conversations about pipeline safety and regulation for the oil and gas industry. These conversations are coming at a critical time for the industry – perhaps even a turning point.

As many are well aware, it is becoming more and more difficult for pipeline projects to achieve the necessary approvals to get off the ground, and the negative press surrounding spills such as this one is at the heart of several groups’ objections.

Keystone Has Become a Key Issue

The stand-out example is of course the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline, which has been delayed for more than six years. Canada’s Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, has admitted that he is not hopeful that U.S. President Obama will approve the pipeline.

With rumors that President Obama will soon announce his decision on Keystone, this most recent pipeline spill in Canada’s oilsands is … Read more...

Collecting Data from the Field? Follow this Formula for Success!

A drill operator at an oil rig is looking tired and “out of it.” He’s yawning, his movements are slow, and he doesn’t appear to be paying much attention to detail.

Immediately, the supervisor relieves the drill operator of his duties and reassigns the task. He quickly enters the work observation in his iPad. His device has an offline mode that will sync up with his safety management system as soon as he has internet access again.

Back at the office, the safety manager’s dashboard updates in real time.

Sounds like a pipe dream? The technology exists now – the only barrier is getting end users to adopt it. The key to adoption is simplicity.

“If you want people to use it, you have to make it simple. As simple as possible,” a senior oil and gas safety VP said to me recently. With over 30 years in the industry, … Read more...

Low Oil Prices Create Opportunity for Forward-Thinking Upstream Companies

The oil industry has seen many booms and busts in its history, and it’s common in times of low oil prices for companies to face significant pressure to cut spending.  This can lead to production slowdowns, decommissioned rigs, layoffs and other cuts with similar far-reaching consequences. It can even lead to unsafe working conditions if the HSE budget also ends up on the chopping block.

Although commodity prices may be beyond your control, periods of downturn can create opportunities for companies to invest in their future by acting strategically now. Your safety program is one of the best places to invest your time and resources during this critical juncture, and we’re here to tell you why.

Get Ahead While You Can!

Currently, companies in the upstream oil industry are facing many of the same challenges and are being limited by many of the same constraints. This may sound comforting, but … Read more...

The 6 Best Oil & Gas Websites

Want to be an expert in your (oil)field? Looking to impress your boss with your industry knowledge? How about keeping two steps ahead of pending regulatory updates?

To help you stay up to date on all the latest news, trends and analysis within your industry, we’ve compiled six of our favorite online resources for the informed Oil & Gas professional. All these websites have free and timely information that you can access in a variety of ways – follow ‘em on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, subscribe to a few of these great e-newsletters and prepare to wow your coworkers with your newfound expertise!

Breaking Energy

Social media: Twitter, Facebook

Common topics: Regulation, industry deals, technology and career opportunities.

Breaking Energy is a leading free online source of energy information, providing news, analysis and thought leadership on important energy market trends. Their daily “Energy News Roundup” newsletter is a terrific … Read more...

US Refinery Workers Reach Tentative Deal, FMCSA Launches Mobile App, Poison Prevention Week and More!

On this week’s edition of EHS This Week we’ve got the week’s top stories in environment, health and safety news:

  • Poison Prevention Week: Poison Prevention in the Workplace
  • FMCSA Releases Mobile App to Identify Safety Data for Truck and Business Companies
  • US Refinery Workers Reach Tentative Deal
  • New MHCC Report on Psychological Health and Safety

Remember to write us with your suggestions, questions and comments. Also, if you are an industry expert and ever want to take part in the program, we’d love to have you. Until next week, enjoy the program!

EHS This Week Resources

For more information on the stories and resources mentioned in this week’s podcast, check out the links below.

  • U.S. Refinery Workers Reach Tentative Deal. Click here
  • FMCSA Announces New Smartphone App to provide Safety Data . Click here.
  • OSHA Chemical Hazard Communication. Click here
  • Mental Health Commission of Canada Report on Psychological Health
Read more...

U.S. Oil Refinery Workers Striking for Safety

The U.S. oil worker strike has entered its second month with just under 7,000 refinery workers now on the picket lines. They come from 15 plants across seven states and are represented by the United Steelworkers (USW) Union, which represents more than 30,000 American oil workers in total.

The strike, which was first called by the USW on January 31 and began on February 1, has evolved into the largest refinery strike in over 35 years. The last strike of this size took place in 1980, when the work stoppage lasted three months. Today, the 15 plants currently striking include 12 refineries that represent about one fifth of the nation’s refining capacity.

Safety Concerns a Key Issue

One of the central focuses of this strike has been the argument that oil companies are perceived by their employees to be prioritizing profits over worker safety. Some of the employees’ biggest concerns … Read more...

AOPL Releases New Pipeline Safety Statistics & Strategies

This month the Association of Oil Pipe Lines (AOPL) released their 2015 annual report on liquid pipeline safety in the United States, its reported numbers now entering a debate that has been making headlines in recent months. At the heart of the debate is this question: how safe are our pipelines?

Recent Pipeline Leaks Gain Attention

In the U.S., two major pipeline leaks in January 2015 have shone a spotlight on pipeline safety concerns, a topic that is already near the forefront of public consciousness as the Keystone XL oil pipeline continues to dominate the news.

The North Dakota pipeline spill on January 6 leaked approximately 3 million gallons of brine, which is a salty and toxic byproduct of oil and natural gas production. The spill polluted two creeks and saltwater contamination reached the Missouri River; the full environmental impact is still unknown.

Eleven days later, a Montana oil pipeline … Read more...