As demand rises, Gulf oil majors upgrade safety

Published May 4th, 2008 - 08:33 GMT

Asset integrity management becoming a top priority in energy industry, says leading engineering, safety and risk consultancy ESR Technology

Middle East energy majors are upgrading safety and inspection regimes as they seek to extend the life of existing facilities and plant to meet continuing global and regional demand for oil and gas, says a leading industry expert.

"There is a significant trend towards what is called asset integrity management within regional oil and gas and petrochemical companies," said Paul Osborne, Middle East President of ESR Technology, one of the world’s leading engineering, safety and risk consultancies. "A key element is to link risk assessment to asset integrity driven by the need to eliminate major plant failures."

In the Arabian Gulf countries there are currently more than 1,000 projects to extend the life of existing oil and gas plant and facilities worth a combined total of around $950 billion, according to ESR Technology.

Oil and gas development is characterised by huge investment, tight schedules and sometimes the introduction of new technology under unproven conditions - resulting in higher risk levels. In addition, many major assets are now going beyond their originally designed lifespan, escalating safety and asset integrity issues.

"An example of what can go wrong if asset integrity management is not of the first order is provided by the Texas City refinery disaster in 2005," Osborne added. "That tragic incident led to the loss of 15 lives and over 100 injured. In addition, there were significant financial losses through lost production, and compensation to victims, not to mention damage to reputation.

"It is to help prevent just such incidents that asset integrity management is becoming such a priority in the energy industry worldwide, including here in the Middle East.

"Operators are under pressure to meet stringent commercial as well as technical demands. For over 15 years we have been providing engineering, safety and risk management services to most of the world's major oil and gas companies, working with operators, design contractors, service providers and industry regulators in the UK, Europe, Middle East, North America, Far East, Australia and South Africa.”

"Our detailed knowledge of the business, safety and environmental risks associated with the failure of plant and equipment has enabled us to optimise the asset integrity management process while helping customers make the most cost effective use of capital and operating expenditure."

ESR Technology recently announced major expansion in the Middle East partly based on huge growth in the oil, gas and petrochemical sectors as the region brings forward major projects and programmes to extend the life of existing plant.

In the oil and gas sector, ESR Technology's Middle East clients include Dolphin Energy, Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company, Qatar Liquefied Gas Company and RasGas.

ESR Technology was previously the engineering, safety and risk division of AEA Technology which was formed from the commercial arm of the UK Atomic Energy Authority.

ESR Technology is backed by Coller Capital - a leading investor in private equity secondaries worldwide with approximately $8 billion under management.

For more information about ESR Technology, please visit:



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