Is Oil & Gas Turning the Corner?

Oil Gas

From Pandemic - to Recovery - to War

The oil and gas industry has survived a few tough years with weak demands and low prices thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic and other factors. Compared to 2020, executives in the oil, gas, and chemistry industry anticipate more growth in 2022. Unfortunately, that growth will likely have been accelerated through the war in Ukraine.

In 2019’s Oil, Gas & Chemicals Industry Outlook, published by Deloitte, a survey found that recovery was returning with expectations for increased economic growth in commodity, prices, and investments, all of which were more positive than the previous years. Higher oil and gas prices were expected for 2020 gaining economic growth expectations. The pandemic slammed the pause button, and war in Ukraine shifted realities once again.

Transformation and Uncertainty

As we move into the middle of 2022, many oil and gas companies are looking to reinvent themselves by practicing capital discipline, focusing on financial health, committing to climate change, and transforming business models. The positivity of such changes is reflected in surveys completed by Deloitte where nearly two-thirds of oil and gas executives state they’re highly positive about strategic changes made by their organizations.

Accidents Around the Workplace

With all the pending growth in the oil and gas industry, the smallest oversight could cause a dangerous downward slope – fines, accidents, and deaths. The safety performance of The International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (IOGP) member companies in 2020, based on the analysis of 2,544 million work hours of data, provides some insight. Submissions were made by 48 of the 58 IOGP operating company members. The data reported cover operations in 94 countries. The resulting fatal accident rate (0.55) is 33% lower than last year’s figure (0.82)

Oil jobs are making a major comeback! That’s why it’s critical we talk about ways to keep them safe.

There’s no doubt that drilling for oil is a dangerous job. Accidents can quickly occur – especially fires and explosions. It's important to recognize and understand the hazards associated with hot work on oilfield tanks, tankers, and other related equipment.

Roughnecks are engaged in diverse industrial processes to drill and service a well. They work with specialized equipment while dealing with distinct safety and health hazards that could result in fatalities.

The most common work-related hazards, per the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) include:

  • Vehicle accidents
  • Struck-By/Caught-in/Caught-between
  • Explosions and fires
  • Falls
  • Confined spaces
  • Chemical exposures

Vehicles and motorized equipment present an ignition hazard if located too close to the wellbore or other potential flammable vapor sources – such as, flow back tanks, frac tanks, and production tanks.

When flammable vapors or gases are released, engines and motors can ignite the vapors and cause fires and explosions. 

Investigations by OSHA and the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) document a history of fires and explosions at workplaces – such as oilfields and refineries. Workers described experiencing dizziness, fainting, headache, nausea, and, in some cases, death while gauging tanks, collecting samples, or transferring fluids.

Understanding specific hazards and steps to protect yourself and others is critical to eliminating dangerous situations from occurring. 

What can you do to protect workers, as noted by OSHA:

  1. Conduct a fire risk assessment at the worksite
  2. Train workers to know when an engine “over revs” or starts “running away,” causing  a gas/vapor cloud
  3. Test the area for a potential source of ‘release’ as they relate to on-site ignition sources
  4. Establish acceptable locations, restrictions, and entry routes for vehicles and motorized equipment, including contractors’ equipment
  5. Ensure that the location of all vehicles/motorized equipment is within the established areas, boundaries, and entry routes
  6. Develop a Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) that includes fire risk hazards
  7. Review the JHA, fire prevention plans, and emergency evacuation procedures at daily shift meetings.
  8. Use required PPE, gas detection devices (personal), and be mindful of all alarms
  9. Follow employers’ safe work practices and procedures
  10. Remove other potential ignition sources from the hazard zone – such as static, cell phones, open flames, cigarettes, sparks from tools or metal objects, etc.

With the oil and gas industry booming again, let’s work together to ensure workers are safe and informed about potential hazards. And remember, if you are not sure, follow STEPS advice and stop the job and ask if it’s safe. Everyone has the right to stop work that is unsafe.

AccuformNMC has signs, labels, tags, lockout devices, and more to protect workers from dangerous accidents at oil and well sites!