Global oil and gas safety body OPITO enters the U.S.

Published Feb 9, 2012
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OPITO International

Aberdeen headquartered safety training and skills body OPITO International has increased its global reach with a move into the U.S. oil and gas industry.

Research has shown a clear lack of a comprehensive and structured approach to effective management and competence in the region when it comes to offshore emergency response. The creation of a Houston base will see the internationally recognized organization work with oil companies, training providers and the United States Government to bring its globally recognized world-class safety training and emergency response standards to the region.

A unique, not-for-profit organization, OPITO is wholly owned by the oil and gas industry and responsible for ensuring it has a safe, skilled and competent workforce. With operations in Aberdeen, Scotland; Dubai and Kuala Lumpur, OPITO delivers standards, qualifications and workforce development frameworks used by employers in 37 countries worldwide.

American Albert Skiba has been appointed vice president for the Gulf of Mexico. An oil and gas veteran with more than 30 years’ experience in the sector, Skiba brings a wealth of knowledge to OPITO.

Primarily based in Houston but with a remit covering the major petroleum producing areas of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama as well as Washington DC, he will be supported by OPITO’s established team in Kuala Lumpur as the organisation looks to build its presence in the U.S.

“Houston is the energy capital of the world with more than 55,000 people employed by thousands of organizations and associations operating across the Gulf of Mexico however the use of a structured standards-based framework stretching from basic offshore safety through a range of specialist response roles has not been applied in the way it has in most other exploration and production areas of the world,” said Skiba.

“It is clear that although the industry is attempting to build collective forums to address a wide range of issues relating to safer working practices, a fragmented approach to preparing and managing for emergency response exists. OPITO has an outstanding reputation across the world for delivering best practice offshore skills and safety training. My primary aim will be to engage with the industry in the U.S to help it understand that when it comes to creating a common standard for improving safety across the energy sector, there already exists a highly world-class approach - developed by industry for industry - which is successfully raising the bar on safety in more than 30 countries around the globe.”

Seven training providers in the U.S. are already certified to provide training to OPITO standards. Research has shown however that emergency response training is, for the large part, only being undertaken by transient U.S. workers moving into other regions where OPITO training is either mandatory or a basic requirement.

The organization plans to establish an industry/employer forum and an approved training provider advisory group so it can better engage with the industry in the Gulf of Mexico, understand the regional issues and work collectively to address them. Already making significant impacts in Europe, the Middle East and Asia Pacific, the forum will provide the vehicle for debating standards-related issues and influence the amendment of existing standards to more accurately reflect the operating and training environments in the region.

Skiba added: “There is a strong desire across the industry to proactively address the challenges around offshore safety and organizations are very receptive to using the lessons learned from other, often more mature, oil and gas hubs around the world. OPITO offers a solution which can be grasped very quickly and emulated across the region, bringing the same benefits which are being seen elsewhere to our U.S. offshore workforce.”

David Doig, OPITO Group chief executive, said: “It should be a fundamental right in any workplace to know and understand the basic safety and emergency response skills of your fellow workers. While there are many examples of well-intended and commendable company specific efforts to improve safety training for offshore workers in the region, the fragmented approach does not provide this.

“OPITO exists purely to improve the safety of the oil and gas workforce and to ensure that people return home safe at the end of the day. The Gulf of Mexico is a major oil and gas province so this marks a significant move by us towards the creation of a single common global standard for safety in the oil and gas industry and we are delighted to have secured someone of Albert’s reputation and calibre to support our work going forward.”

Tags: OPITO International


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