Special Report: Editor's letter

If you think that safety is expensive, try having an accident

Indrajit Sen is the deputy editor of Oil & Gas Middle East.
Indrajit Sen is the deputy editor of Oil & Gas Middle East.

There is perhaps no other sector that faces a greater risk of fire-related accidents than the oil and gas industry, particularly the upstream segment, due to the very nature of its operation. As empirical evidence proves, whenever a fire incident has occurred in an oil and gas site, it has stalled operations for days, led to huge losses, damaged assets and, tragically, has sometimes caused workers to be seriously – or even fatally – injured.

However, considering the prevailing downturn in the oil and gas industry, which has compelled even the wealthiest of NOCs and IOCs operating in the region to slash capital expenditure, cynics have cast aspersions on both operators’ willingness and their ability to invest in maintaining and improving fire safety mechanisms.

Industry experts that O&GME spoke to for this Special Report vehemently denied this, however. Despite the region’s oil and gas producers striving to “do more with less”, investments in fire detection and prevention fall out of the ambit of cost-cutting measures, and budgets allocated for fire protection systems (FPS) and other safety aspects remain intact, they say.

“As the old saying goes, ‘if you think safety is expensive, try having an accident!’” quipped Ramanujan Suresh, sales director - analytical and detection for Rosemount Middle East and Africa at Emerson Process Management, our Knowledge Partner for this Special Report, when I asked him about his opinion about whether it is prudent on the part of upstream operators to reduce fire security expenses.

Suresh goes on to talk about a recently developed – and quite innovative – concept to enhance fire detection in oil and gas installations. The combination of smart video analysis to the existing triple infrared (IR3) flame detection technology has meant that oil and gas operators now have access to a modified FPS. Suresh elaborates on the advancement in his interview (pages 38-39).

Speaking of digital improvements to fire detection and prevention systems, I was amazed to learn how simple equipment like cameras can be effective tools in an all-encompassing FPS portfolio. Global camera and electronics major, Canon – a household name due to its popular range of photography devices, which has motivated even unartistic people like me to carry along a DSLR camera whenever embarking on a leisurely outing – is now branching out to become a holistic FPS provider to the oil and gas industry. Learn more about this on page 42, and discover the interesting advances that the future has is store for the FPS market.

For the year ahead, we have equally interesting Special Reports lined up on topics that have a direct impact on the operations and people working in the regional upstream sector, with an insight into offshore technology due in the upcoming June issue. Although this broad subject covers every aspect that dominates the functioning of the offshore segment, our focal points for the report will be the E&P, digital technologies, and the EPC contracting side of things. If you are an active player in this domain, this is a valuable opportunity for you to share your knowledge and insight.

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