From the Editor: Safety First

Published Oct 16, 2006
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In this issue, we’ve attempted to focus on a broad range of issues that fall under the Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) umbrella. Whether you are concerned with protection of personnel and equipment or how the industry is effected by environmental matters, we have touched on something that may be of interest.

As with many things, the importance of HSE lies in the details. The old saying “an ounce of prevention…” is especially true when it comes to HSE, where something as small and as practically invisible as a spark can mean dire consequences. So awareness is key and vigilance can often avoid “…a pound of cure”.

Helly Hansen has 70,000 suits’ worth of experience in the survival wear business. We provide a glimpse of how these suits serve to keep offshore workers safe and warm in the event of a fall into the North Sea.

We also look at other equipment that is meant to provide a safe working environment, including ATEX-compliant explosion-proof PCs, fire and blast protection enclosures for emergency shutdown (ESD) valves and actuators as well as risk-reducing flange spreaders. Without a doubt, safety ranks high when it comes to choosing equipment for an inherently dangerous business.

In addition to HSE issues, we also have an interview with Benson K. Whitney, US Ambassador to Norway. His point of views about US-Norwegian business and collaboration in the North Sea are fascinating.

This issue also includes a look at the oil and gas industry in Nigeria and Angola. Both countries are seeing an increase in proven reserves and production, yet instability continues to be a concern in the region as many there feel frustration that they have not benefited from oil profits. As Ambassador Whitney points out, for some, oil wealth has proven to be a curse. We can all hope that international awareness and increased domestic transparency can lead to an improvement of life for all West Africans.

ONS 2006 meant a busy week, not only for us here at the magazine, but for everyone doing business in the North Sea. We present a review of the conference in this issue, including photos of highlights from the week. The theme may have been “Bridging the Energy Gap”, but it could have been “Safety First” as well. Conference organisers went a long way to ensure that everyone involved in the conference and exhibition were aware of security and safety measures and followed them to the letter.

But all in all, the ONS week was both productive and enjoyable – and everyone should be especially grateful to the city of Stavanger for making us feel welcome (and, in particular, for making sure that the weather would be so nice)!

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