Petrotechnics survey finds low oil prices impact operational risk and safety

72 percent of senior industry leaders believe oil price downturn has had a moderate or significant effect on process safety risk

Process safety management and operational risk have been impacted by the industry downturn.
Process safety management and operational risk have been impacted by the industry downturn.

The budgetary squeeze on the oil and gas companies could be affecting more than their bottom line; Petrotechnics' 2018 Operational Risk and Process Safety Management Report found that 72 percent of senior industry leaders believe oil price downturn has had a moderate or significantt effect on process safety risk.

However, 83 percent of the 100 senior industry leaders surveyed say safety is part of their corporate value structure and is supported by upper management. Still, more than half concede that safety-related projects are a source of resource tension.

“With less budget and staff available, firms are facing difficult decisions about which tasks to complete and when," said Simon Jones, head of professional services at Petrotechnics. "The risk here is that maintenance and upkeep of essential safety systems may get lost in the budgetary squeeze, leaving firms vulnerable.”

Indeed, 75 percent of survey respondents noted that conflicting priorities were a primary cause for shortfall in scheduled maintenance, and 72 percent noted that limited resources were a main cause.

The survey also found that the perceived gap between process safety intent and reality widened in the past year.

“While the majority of respondents agree safety is integral to their corporate values, there is clearly room for leadership teams to do more to empower decision-making throughout the organisation and enable better risk management," Jones added. "Following a very tumultuous period for the industry, this could do much to improve safety culture.”

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