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January 2011 Issue

Study: Industry Favors Common Health and Safety Standards
Respondents to an oil and gas industry survey said they support common global standards for health and safety training, according to research published in November by OPITO.

A lack of consistency and variations in regional approaches to training were found in the report to be barriers to achieving competency and changes in behavior.

The report, Beyond the Barricades, sought to understand the ways in which training is delivered, how it offers value, the means used to measure that value and the significance of international standards in achieving improved safety and competency. Research was conducted by the Aberdeen Business School at Robert Gordon University.

Almost 97 percent of respondents felt that uniform global industry standards would result in improved workforce mobility, efficiency, quality of training and capabilities; increased ability of companies to respond to incidents, trade globally and benchmark training; reduced training costs; and greater capacity for organizations to assess and share resource requirements.

The report found that the main barrier to standardization was the variety and complexity of existing standards; the other barriers were culture, language and climatic requirements, along with the confusing number and varying roles of regulatory bodies and organizations.

The solution, the report said, is to develop an effective global standard that is flexible and takes account of local operational environments. Increased communication and awareness, high-quality instructors, continual auditing, familiar frames of reference and improving a culture of personal awareness were all cited as ways of overcoming the barriers.

More than 60 senior figures from multinational, national and independent oil companies, as well as service companies in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Australasia, North America and South America were interviewed for the study.

The need for a competent workforce was a key influence on the development of health, safety and emergency response training programs, but respondents placed greater emphasis on the need to comply with legislation and regulation. To read the report, visit www.opito.com

Nalcor Undertakes Regional Oil Seep Study Offshore Canada
Nalcor Energy Oil and Gas (St. John's, Canada) is undertaking a regional oil seep mapping and interpretation study of offshore Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada.

The company said that data acquired from this study will help detect natural seepage and may discover potential new exploration areas, functioning as a cost-effective tool to assist in the analysis of prospectives for both underexplored and mature offshore basins. It will also help focus future exploration efforts, they said.

A contract to conduct the study has been awarded to Infoterra Ltd. (Toulouse, France). Infoterra will use satellite data acquired over offshore areas to detect any natural oil seeps that may be present on the sea surface. Once the study is complete, seepage data will be added to Infoterra's global seeps database, which can be licensed by oil exploration companies worldwide.

The study will cover all offshore areas of Newfoundland and Labrador, linking into southwest Greenland. In total, it will cover more than 1.5 million square kilometers. The company expects to complete the study by spring of this year.

Nalcor said the satellite image data compiled through this project have the potential to encourage additional exploration activity in areas identified as prospective, and data collected will aid in the enhanced targeting of seismic acquisitions, increasing the odds of exploration success and minimizing environmental impacts. For more information, visit www.nalcorenergy.com.

USFWS Designates Large Area as Critical Habitat for Polar Bears

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) designated in November 187,000 square miles of onshore barrier islands, denning areas and offshore sea ice as critical habitat for the polar bear under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). This area is slightly less than the original proposal of 200,541 square miles, which included virtually the entire area of the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas that has been made available for leasing and the adjoining portions of the North Slope where industry operates or has explored for oil and gas.

About 96 percent of the area being designated is sea-ice habitat. About 91 percent of the full area is federally owned.

In the final rule report, the authors note that protections may be needed to minimize the risk of human disturbances to habitat, crude oil spills associated with oil and gas production, and commercial shipping. For more information, visit http://alaska.fws.gov.

IHC Engineering Raises its Largest J-Lay Tower Yet
After three years of work, Riding Mill, England-based IHC Engineering Business' (IHC EB) J-Lay tower, designed and built for Saipem's (Milan, Italy) newbuild field development ship, was raised in December to its vertical operating position.

The pipelay tower is now 65 meters tall above the deck of the vessel, named FDS2, in Samsung Heavy Industries' (Seoul, South Korea) shipyard.

"It is by far the largest system that IHC EB has ever delivered and the most versatile pipelay tower in the world," said IHC EB managing director Toby Bailey.

Following the design and build of the system, it was shipped last summer to Korea. Since its arrival, a team from IHC EB has been working with Saipem and Samsung to install the tower.

IHC EB will continue to commission the tower this year, after which the vessel and pipelay system will complete sea trials before commencing commercial operations. In parallel, IHC EB is designing and constructing a second pipelay tower for another leading offshore contractor for delivery in 2011. For more information, visit www.engb.com.


2012:  JAN | FEB | MARCH | APRIL | MAY | JUNE | JULY | AUG | SEPT | OCT | NOV | DEC
2011:  JAN | FEB | MARCH | APRIL | MAY | JUNE | JULY | AUG | SEPT | OCT | NOV | DEC

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Sea Technology is read worldwide in more than 110 countries by management, engineers, scientists and technical personnel working in industry, government and educational research institutions. Readers are involved with oceanographic research, fisheries management, offshore oil and gas exploration and production, undersea defense including antisubmarine warfare, ocean mining and commercial diving.