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Next generation given reference material to avoid accidents like Piper Alpha

Published:  03 August, 2017

Lord Cullen today (3/8/2017) welcomed the launch of a valuable oil and gas resource which will help prevent incidents offshore and provide valuable reference material for tomorrow’s industry leaders.

The author of the seminal Cullen Report, following the Piper Alpha tragedy, was speaking at today’s launch of Encompassing the Future: Offshore Oil and Gas Operations. This resource pulls together 40 years of inter-disciplinary knowledge and experience in environmental, health and safety and performance management in a format that is easy to use and share with current and future generations of oil and gas professionals.

Lord Cullen said: “Painful lessons were learnt from the tragic events on 6 July 1988. These lessons, like so many others in the industry, must never be forgotten. They should be used to ensure the safety of the people who work in it, the protection of the environment and the overall economic health and sustainability of offshore operations. The ten volumes of this resource will be an essential knowledge bank to pass on lessons learnt to the next generation, making sure that the industry retains the full benefit of years of expertise and experience.

“More than ever such comprehensive reference material is required. A mature province with ageing infrastructure, challenging economics, demographics and technology that pushes new boundaries must welcome and make full use of such a resource.”

The launch, sponsored by Brodies, was attended by 80 industry leaders with over 100 future leaders attending the following forum which outlined the content of the resource and explained how it can be used.

Paul Wheelhouse, Scottish Government Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy said: “The oil and gas industry makes a huge contribution to the Scottish economy, and will continue to do so for decades to come. Ensuring that the highest safety standards are applied across the industry is, of course, a key priority for all of us, and it is also essential to North Sea sustainability in the long run.

“So I’m delighted to officially unveil this invaluable resource, which is the culmination of a collective effort by academics and industry experts, who have drawn upon nearly forty years of research and experience. This repository should represent the ‘gold standard’ for health and safety, and environmental management - not just for Scotland, but for the rest of the world. The Scottish Government, along with academia and industry partners, is very happy to have been able to help fund the repository and we strongly support it.”

An ICOE (International Centre for Oil and the Environment) initiative, this knowledge repository will help future leaders deal with the challenges of oil price volatility, technological innovation and the loss of experienced personnel.

William Cairns, executive chairman of ICOE and editor-in-chief of the resource, said: “Compiling such a comprehensive knowledge repository during one of the most challenging periods faced by the industry has been a mammoth task. However, with the support of industry and academic experts, this much-anticipated project distils, records and shares intellectual and operational expertise in a format for the digital age. Its value is inestimable not only in terms of accident prevention and avoidance of environmental damage, improving decision-making to ensure greater efficiency but also in exporting North Sea experience and expertise around the world.”

The launch, hosted by Sir Ian Diamond and held at Aberdeen University’s Kings College Conference Centre, boasted an eminent panel of speakers including Paul Warwick, Colette Cohen, Gunther Newcomb, Chris Bird and Professor Alex Kemp.

Guests were given an overview of the thinking behind the project, the challenges currently facing the sector and how this knowledge bank can help meet these through new thinking, the retention and transfer of expertise and the collaborative imperatives between industry and universities.

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