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President’s Column

SPE Introduces an Innovation in HSE Communication

pic of SPE PresidentIn my columns, I have talked about innovation and the importance it has in our industry. From the first well logs to horizontal drilling, innovation has been the driving force behind this industry’s successes and the key to the future. There is no place that innovation is more important than in the health, safety, and environment discipline. HSE has been a vital part of our industry since its inception. However, recently our industry has been marked by a number of large-scale safety and environmental incidents that raised strong concerns about operations. These incidents have forever changed our industry and resulted in the demand for an even more vigorous stance on health and safety by authorities worldwide. Although very large volumes of oil and gas are safely produced and moved daily, any incident that causes injury and impacts the environment attracts global attention because of the ease and speed of communication and because many stakeholders watch our operations and demand zero incidents—I believe rightfully so.

This year will mark the start of a new SPE periodical devoted to this discipline. HSE Now, scheduled to debut in March, is a monthly e-newsletter focused on the Health, Safety, Security, Environment, and Social Responsibility (HSSE-SR) discipline. Unlike other SPE periodicals, which rely on SPE-generated content, HSE Now will be a curator of information important to the discipline, collating important news, regulations, and articles about these aspects of oil and gas operations from a wide variety of sources. Members who have chosen HSSE-SR as their primary or secondary discipline will have access to HSE Now automatically; other members will have the opportunity to opt in.

Over the years, attention to the HSE segment of this discipline has grown, with all companies recognizing that protection of life and the environment is a responsibility that is absolutely essential for any company. Fulfillment of this responsibility is linked to the company’s public reputation and its ability to attract and retain quality staff, who scrutinize the company when making employment decisions.

Security also plays an important role. Serious conflict often visits areas of the world where oil and gas are located and the protection of staff to prevent injuries or loss of life is critical. The concept of social responsibility is a fairly late arrival to the discipline, as most companies focused mainly on operating in a financially efficient manner so that a healthy bottom line could be reported. The strict attention to what is good for the shareholder has now been expanded to awareness of what stakeholders demand. Corporate accountability now requires that social and financial interests are given due attention, but this may lead to conflict and stresses (Paine, Lynn Sharp. 2003). Most companies are now aware that they cannot operate separately from societal considerations and aspiring managers embrace these concepts early in their career.

It is this growth and evolution of these important aspects of our operations that led SPE to first establish a discipline on health, safety, and environment and then to expand it to include security and social responsibility.  The periodical HSE Now is the latest SPE offering to help our industry in these endeavors, following on a number of special conferences and workshops. I look forward to your comments on the new HSE Now.

Reference

  • Paine, Lynn Sharp. 2003. Value Shift. Why Companies Must Merge Social and Financial Imperatives to Achieve Superior Performance. McGraw-Hill.