HAC sets best practices for oil and gas operations

HAC sets best practices for oil and gas operations

23-Apr-2010 Source: HAC

At the recent HAC Convention and Trade Show, outgoing committee chair Robert Gallagher and incoming chair Corey Taylor presented the final draft of the Land Seismic Industry Best Practices on schedule, standards that will now be put to the HAC board of directors for sector-wide adoption.

Developed in conjunction with key oil and gas producer associations, the standards reflect the unique challenges facing the Canadian oil and gas sector, as well as the desires of the oil and gas client base. The standards have also been modified to reflect early operator concerns, and as a result they include a number of Canadian-specific elements in such areas as:

  • Crew rotation: Rather than the OPG standard (six days on, one day off), HAC best practices will be suited to the remote nature of Canadian seismic work. “I think we all realize that the six and one scenario is not realistic for the Canadian sector, especially with the challenges we already were having in finding pilots with the experience levels we needed,” Gallagher explained to an animated audience. Instead the practices call for a 21 days on, 14 days off rotation. They also specify single-room accommodation for both pilot and engineer.
  • Crew staffing: Two pilots will be the best practices standard, but single-pilot operations can be run following a proper risk assessment. Similar options exist for multi-engine (standard) versus single-engine operations.
  • Pilot competencies: Always contentious, this standard is a compromise that may please no one but should be workable for everyone. In addition to a minimum of 1,000 hours, pilots must be able to prove basic minimum competencies as appropriate in such areas as long-line proficiency, mountain flying, operating in confined areas, and more. Where possible, similar existing standards have simply been referenced rather than re-invented, and standards in similar operations (fire fighting) have been duplicated.
  • Equipment: This includes a detailed list of standard gear, including a call for HUMS (Health and Usage Monitoring Systems) where available. In fact, the oil and gas representatives consulted in setting the standards have agreed to help fund the estimated $180,000 per helicopter required to retrofit legacy aircraft via an additional $150 per operating hour surcharge, an agreement confirmed by attending oil and gas sector representatives. However operators are cautioned to communicate with their clients to ensure an adequate volume of work in this slow economy to allow for the upgrades.

Other hot topics touched on included the burning need to streamline the audit process, but the bottom line for Canadian oil and gas operators is that approved industry best practices will soon be available to share with clients in the seismic sector. Next on the agenda are similar standards for pipeline support and offshore operations, with 2011 and 2012 deadlines respectively. More information is available from the HAC website, www.h-a-c.ca.

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