Safety first, before profitability: this imperative is enshrined the RWE Dea’s corporate mission statement, and it is complied with in the operation of our drilling and production sites on a daily basis. Any potential risks associated with drilling and production activities are countered with an extensive range of measures covering:
- the training and qualifications of our personnel
- risk and crisis management
- the selection of contractors and materials
- environmental aspects
- conduct in the event of an incident
Training and qualifications of personnel
RWE Dea only employs drilling personnel with the appropriate qualifications. These employees continue to be trained in well control measures conforming to international standards in two-yearly intervals through the “International Well Control Forum”. Moreover, supervisory personnel and site engineers also undergo regular training to enable them to detect potential problems emerging during drilling and production immediately and respond with the appropriate measures. In the “SimWell” course, for example, a practice drilling rig generates inflows that must be detected, controlled and safely circulated out using the installed safety facilities. Seminars attended by both employees and contractors are designed to raise awareness of environmental protection and occupational safety issues.
Risk and crisis management
A management system designed to deal with crises allows us to assess potential risks and hazards associated with drilling activities and production facilities as accurately as possible, so that we are able to implement the appropriate preventative measures. Using this system, we can analyse a range of different risk situations and scenarios for their inherent crisis potential. These analyses provide answers regarding the likelihood of an event occurring, so that crisis priority ratings can be assigned and targeted preventive measures developed by the crisis management team. RWE Dea’s operating units all have their own catalogue of measures and emergency response plans, enabling them to mount a rapid and appropriate response to any conceivable events. To ensure that all these measures work perfectly not only in theory, practical fire-fighting and evacuation drills are carried out at regular intervals. RWE Dea employees have all undergone comprehensive preparations for dealing with emergencies in an operational setting.
Selection of contractors and materials
Safety issues are not limited to what happens on the drill rig. Quality, health, safety and environmental protection aspects are taken into account as early as during the preparation of the specifications for services provided by contractors and for materials. Technology, quality and risk factors play an important role in the selection of suppliers and are an integral part of tender evaluations. Our key strategic suppliers are assessed by means of a supplier management system; potential weakness are identified and appropriate measures for improvement are jointly stipulated.
In the international environment in which RWE Dea operates, all mining activities are reviewed and approved by the relevant authorities. In some countries, there is a legal requirement that independent third parties review the submitted application and the design of wells and equipment before applications can be approved by the public authorities in question. Any changes to an already approved concept must be reported and explained in detail. However, the conditions and controls stipulated by government authorities are just one component in the supervisory process. In addition, anyone with responsibility for aspects of our projects must familiarise themselves with any approvals and conditions imposed by the authorities that impinge on their area of responsibility. The same applies to the supervisory staff of external companies. We further ensure continuous, professional-standard monitoring of all safety aspects, either by our own staff of by appropriately trained managerial staff working for our outside companies.
Protection of the environment is entrenched in the Corporate Mission Statement of RWE Dea as a high-priority policy objective. Our organisation and all our employees have made a commitment to act accordingly as they go about their work. We have a “zero incident” policy in relation to occupational and plant safety as well as for environmental protection. We can achieve this through targeted measures to eliminate incidents. This includes efforts to thoroughly investigate the causes of any incident or “near-miss” cases. By eliminating not only faults and incidents, but focusing closely above all on their causes, we can ensure a continual process of improvement.
The environmental studies carried out by us look at the dynamic interaction between exploration, drilling and production activities and the environment. The studies provide information about the effect our activities can have on the environment – from seismic surveys and the drilling of exploration wells right through to the extraction of natural gas and crude. They also indicate the type the environmental protection measures we need to develop and implement to ensure that there will be no long-term damage once operations have been completed.
Conduct in the event of an incident
All organisational units of RWE Dea have effective contingency plans for dealing with emergencies in place and are familiar with their operation. These plans cover all the necessary information, telephone numbers, flow charts and rules of conduct. No aspect of oil pollution control, fire fighting, alarm chain and emergency measures is neglected. These plans are actually “lived” in safety courses, drills and seminars conducted on a regular basis. Appropriate actions by personnel working in every position within the company are subject to constant monitoring. A system of alerts that operates round the clock is designed to convene the crisis management team in the case of an emergency.