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Project Information

Project Information


A Report Series on Progress and Opportunities Toward Decreasing the Risk of Offshore Energy Operations


Project Scope:

The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine will convene an ad-hoc committee to provide an assessment of the risk profile of offshore oil and gas operations over time. Specifically, this committee will examine issues related to and assess progress toward decreasing the systemic risks of offshore energy operations, keeping people and the environment safe as the Gulf of Mexico offshore energy industry evolves. In particular, the panel will:
  • Define the current profile of systemic risks of offshore oil and gas operations in the Gulf of Mexico that could lead to disasters. By systemic risks, we mean defining risks associated with the components of the system, the system itself, and how humans interact with the system, in which a failure of any part could lead to failure of the system as a whole. The panel may consider the risks of a system failure as well as the impact of those risks to humans and natural resources.
  •  Assess how various technological, regulatory, environmental, organizational, and process changes have contributed to increasing or decreasing the systemic risks of the offshore oil and gas operations since the release of the report Macondo Well Deepwater Horizon Blowout: Lessons for Improving Offshore Drilling Safety (2012) and other relevant reports. Identify the numerous recommendations made from these post-Deepwater Horizon reports and detail the ones implemented and major ones that were not.
  • Identify critical gaps and prioritize future needs for increased understanding, communication, and management of systemic risks related to the offshore oil and gas industry. This task could build on previous efforts by the industry and regulators.
  • Consider how the regulatory structure motivates or incentivizes technological, environmental, organizational, and process changes that could decrease the systemic risks of the offshore oil and gas operations.
  • If appropriate, assess how activities (including workshops and grants) funded by the GRP and other funders have contributed to a better understanding and reduction of the systemic risks in offshore oil and gas operations.

The offshore energy industry is a high-hazard industry characterized by diverse and complex operations. The panel will rely on available incident, enforcement, and management system data, and regulator and industry input, supplemented by the panel's expertise.

Status: Current

PIN: GULF-GULFEO-19-05

Project Duration (months): 24 month(s)

RSO: Hutchins, Mark

Topic(s):

Behavioral and Social Sciences
Energy and Energy Conservation
Engineering and Technology
Transportation and Infrastructure



Geographic Focus:

Committee Membership

Committee Post Date: 07/17/2020

Richard Sears - (Chair)
Richard A. Sears, Chair is a Professor of the Practice in the Department of Energy Resources Engineering, Stanford University, where he develops and teaches courses in energy systems, economics, and oil and gas exploration technology. He was appointed as a member of the Ocean Energy Safety Advisory Committee for the United States Department of the Interior in 2011. He previously served as the chair for the Committee on the Application of Real-Time Monitoring of Offshore Oil and Gas Operations and as a member of the Committee on Options for Implementing the Requirement of Best Available and Safest Technologies for Offshore Oil and Gas Operations. He also served as chief science and technology adviser to the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling that was established by President Obama in May 2010. Mr. Sears had a 33-year career with Shell Oil Company and Royal Dutch Shell, where he acquired significant domestic and international experience in the upstream oil and gas industry. His technical and managerial positions included exploration geophysicist, technical instructor, economist, strategic planner, and general management. His managerial positions ranged from exploration and research to fully integrated exploration and production business management, and his responsibilities have included business planning and forecasting, financial responsibility, and staff planning and development. Between 1999 and 2005, Mr. Sears was a vice president for Royal Dutch Shell, where he was responsible for global deepwater technical services. Between 2006 and 2009, Mr. Sears worked as external research co-ordinator for the Shell Group and was appointed a visiting scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). In this position, he was responsible for managing Shell’s energy research activities at MIT and other key U.S. universities and for integrating external research objectives with internal technology strategies. While at MIT, he was an active participant in the campus wide Energy Initiative, carried out applied research in energy systems, taught and contributed to courses in several departments, and served as a liaison between the MIT Energy Initiative and oil companies. Mr. Sears is the author of numerous external and internal publications. He received a BS in physics from Stanford University and an MS in geophysics from Stanford University.


Norman A. Abrahamson
Norman A. Abrahamson (NAE), an Adjunct Professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering| at the University of California, Berkeley, has been involved in research at the interface between earthquake science (geology and seismology) and earthquake engineering (geotechnical and structural). Dr. Abrahamson is involved with studies of seismic safety of critical infrastructure that is moving from simple standards (such as building codes) toward risk-informed decision-making. Dr. Abrahamson has been involved in strong motion seismology for 18 years. He has extensive experience in the practical application of seismology to the development of deterministic and probabilistic seismic criteria (response spectra, and/or time histories) for engineering design or analyses. He has been involved in developing design ground motions for hundreds of projects including dams, bridges, nuclear power plants, nuclear waste repositories, water and gas pipelines, rail lines, ports, landfills, hospitals, electric substations, and office buildings. About 3/4 of these projects have been in the Western US and the other 1/4 have been in the Eastern US or outside of the US. At PG&E, Dr. Abrahamson is responsible for developing ground for seismic evaluations of PG&E facilities including nuclear power plants, nuclear waste storage, dams, penstocks, electric substations, office buildings, and gas pipelines. He is also responsible for the technical management of the PG&E seismic research program funded through the Pacific Engineering Research Center. As a consultant, Dr. Abrahamson has been involved in the ground motion studies for several major engineering projects in California. Recent projects include the Caltrans major toll bridge retrofit projects, the CalFed project for the Sacramento Delta levee system, the BART seismic retrofit project, and the SFO expansion. He has been involved in developing ground motion for nuclear plants and dams in the United States and in other countries. He served as the leader of the ground motion characterization team for the proposed high-level nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain. Dr. Abrahamson was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2018. Dr. Abrahamson received his Ph.D. and B.A. in Geophysics from the University of California at Berkeley.


Lilia A. Abron
Lilia Abron (NAE) is Founder and President and Chief Executive Officer of PEER and a pioneer and visionary in the industry. She has built one of the largest black, female-owned and operated, environmental engineering firms in the United States. Dr. Abron’s experience spans over 45 years in planning, managing and directing environmental engineering programs for the improvement, maintenance and enhancement of the natural and built environments. She is also the President and Founder, of PEER Africa (Pty) Ltd., an innovative design-build, sustainable development company with offices in Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa. Dr. Abron received her BS in Chemistry from Lemoyne-Owen College, MS Sanitary Science from Washington University and PhD in Chemical Engineering from The University of Iowa. Dr. Abron was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2020.
Paul G. Bradley
Paul G. Bradley is currently the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) Energy Division Head of Operations and part of the Energy Divisions Senior Leadership Team with overall responsibility for Offshore and Onshore Well Engineering Operations, Diving Operations, Mines and Quarries. Mr. Bradley joined the HSE (the UK’s Independent Regulator) in 2008 as HM Principal Inspector of Mechanical Engineering in the Major Accident Hazardous Industries Sector, following 28 years of working as a Mechanical Engineer in the UK underground coal mining industry and holding several senior management positions. Mr. Bradley joined the Institute of Mechanical and Electrical Engineers in 1981 until its merger with the Midland Institute of Mining Engineers and has been an active member ever since. He is a past President of the Midland Institute of Mining Engineers and has served as a council member for the past 8 years.
Manson K. Brown
Vice Admiral Manson Brown is a retired U.S. Coast Guard Vice Admiral (VADM) and public official. His top military decoration is the Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal. In 1994, he became the first recipient of the Coast Guard Captain John G. Witherspoon Award for Inspirational Leadership. In 2012, he was honored with the Golden Torch Award by the National Society for Black Engineers. In 2014, he was honored by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People with the Meritorious Service Award, an honor annually bestowed to a service member in a policy-making position for the highest achievement in military equal opportunity. VADM Brown was sworn in as the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Environmental Observation and Prediction on March 18, 2015. In this role he strategically drove Administration policy, programming, and investments for all NOAA observing systems, including in situ instruments and satellites, and the process of converting observations to predictions for environmental threats related to weather, climate, water, oceans, and space weather. He also served as NOAA Deputy Administrator and Chair of NOAA’s Observing Systems Council. He graduated in 1978 from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering. He is a registered professional civil engineer. He also holds Master of Science degrees in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign and National Resources Strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. In 2016, he received an Honorary Doctorate from Massachusetts Maritime Academy.


Paul S. Fischbeck
Paul Fischbeck is a Professor in the Department of Engineering & Public Policy and the Department of Social & Decision Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His general research involves normative and descriptive risk analysis. Past and current research includes the development of a risk index to prioritize inspections of offshore oil production platforms, an engineering and economic policy analysis of air pollution from international shipping, a large-scale probabilistic risk assessment of the space shuttle's tile protection system, and a geographic information system (GIS) designed to evaluate health risk, economic potential, environmental justice, and political factors of oil refineries and abandoned industrial sites using a variety of metrics. He has written extensively on various applications of decision and risk analysis methods and has won several awards from the Institute of Operations Research and Management Sciences (INFORMS). He has chaired two and served on eight other National Academy panels investigating such topics as the risks faced by engineered marine systems, risk assessment of the Alaska oil and gas infrastructure, terror attacks on US shipping, safety of double hull tankers, and risks from oil barge traffic around Cape Cod and oil spills in the Aleutian Islands. He is also the co-founder of the Brownfield center at Carnegie Mellon, an interdisciplinary research group investigating ways to improve industrial site reuse. A 2002 book, Improving Regulation (RFF Press, co-edited with Scott Farrow), presents a dozen case studies of how to integrate insights from multiple disciplines to improve the regulatory process. Dr. Fischbeck received his BS in Architecture from University of Virginia, MS in Operations Research & Systems Analysis, from the Naval Postgraduate School and PhD in Industrial Engineering & Engineering Management from Stanford University.


Dwight Johnston
Dwight Johnston has worked in the oil and gas industry for more than 40 years, 36 of those years for Shell Oil Company in a variety of positions, including Asset or Operations Management, Project Management, and Engineering positions. As an independent consultant, he has supported a variety of clients in developing safety management systems, process safety management programs, and operating/maintenance management systems. Mr. Johnston spent most of his career in the U.S., but he spent 10 years working on international projects, living overseas for 3 years. Before retiring from Shell in December 2015, he worked for eight years as the Global Process Safety Manager and VP HSE for Shell’s Global Deepwater Organization. In the Global PSM role, he worked across Shell’s business; supporting the exploration and production, the refining/manufacturing and the pipeline organizations. Mr. Johnston has a BS in civil engineering from Texas A&M University.


Ulku G. Oktem
Ulku G. Oktem is Co-Founder, Chief Executive Officer of Near-Miss Management LLC and is a globally recognized expert in the field of Near-Misses. Her pioneering work has received international recognition and coverage in scientific journals and has been heavily adopted by chemical companies and organizations such as CCPS, OSHA. She also serves as Adjunct Professor at the Operations and Information Management Department and Senior Fellow at the Risk Center of the Wharton Business School. Her prior industry experience includes managing product development of specialty chemicals at Rohm & Haas. She holds a PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Delaware, MS from the Clarkson College, and BS from the Middle East Technical University.


S. Camille Peres
S. Camille Peres is an Associate Professor with Environmental and Occupational Health at Texas A&M University and she is also the assistant director of Human Systems Engineering with the Mary Kay O’Connor Process Safety Center. She does collaborative research on Human Factors and high-risk processing industry such as the oil and gas industry, chemical processing, and emergency response. She is currently involved in investigations regarding: performance implications for procedure design and use; understanding Human Robotic Interaction in disaster environments; and measuring team performance in Emergency Operations. She received MA and PhD in Psychology from Rice University MA and PhD, MA in Psychology from University of Houston-Clear Lake, and BA in Technical Theatre from University of Houston-Clear Lake.
Gary A. Reiter
Gary A. Reiter is a retired U.S. Coast Guard Commander who spent the majority of his Coast Guard career in the Environmental Response Program. He served two tours on the Pacific Strike Team as Executive Officer from 1979 to 1982 and as Commanding Officer from 1987 to 1990. The Pacific Strike Team received the USCG Pacific Area Operational Unit of the Year award during his tenure. During the interim period he was Assistant Branch Chief of G-WER-2, Pollution Response Branch at USCG Headquarters from 1982 to 1986. He retired in 1991 and has remained active in the Oil Spill and Hazardous Materials Response Field since that time. He is presently a Contract Associate of ECM Maritime Services, LLC. In additon to assisting ECM with response, training and other vessel related services, he consults on projects. Current projects include RPS Group’s (North America) contract with the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) GOM Offshore ACP Review Project and another with Schultz and Associates on a contract with the U.S. Navy Southeast Region for FRP Response Strategies Reviews. Prior to working at ECM Maritime Services, he was a civilian employee and member of the Thirteenth Coast Guard Districts Response Advisory Team, the President and Principal Consultant at Westcliffe Environmental Management and the Response Manager for BHP/Pacific Resources. Mr. Reiter has over 45 years of both United States and international oil and hazardous materials response experience. He earned his MA.in Marine Affairs at the University of Rhode Island and BA in Broad Area Social Sciences at Colorado State University-Pueblo.
Kathy A. Seabrook
Kathy A. Seabrook is the founder and CEO of Global Solutions, Inc. She has over 30 years of diverse safety, health and environmental management experience working with multinational and US/UK companies, across industry, globally. She is a US Certified Safety Professional (CSP), UK Chartered Fellow of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (CFIOSH) and European Occupational Safety and Health Manager (EurOSHM). Using a risk-based approach, Seabrook assists companies with strategically managing their health, safety and environmental risks through their sustainable business strategies, integrated management systems, policies, processes, programs, and practices. Incorporating principles of culture change, leadership development, and global safety and health management, a company more efficiently and effectively embraces an integrated approach to strategy, policy, corporate standard, risk assessment, competency and audit process development and implementation. Safety and health management becomes a lever for improving corporate performance as well as a culture that supports safety and health. Seabrook’s global safety and health experience informs her keynote speaking, leadership and OHSMS workshops, global leadership coaching, cross cultural team building and other safety related education programs. She is an US delegate and Vice Chair of the US Technical Advisory Group to TC283/ISO 45001, current member of the advisory board for the Capitals Coalition, past president of the American Society of Safety Professionals and former Board Chair of the Center for Safety and Health Sustainability. Seabrook holds a BS in Chemistry from James Madison University.
Charles R. Williams
Charles R. Williams served as the Executive Director for the Center for Offshore Safety (COS) from March 2012 to May 2020. He is currently an independent consultant. Following the Deepwater Horizon accident in 2010, Mr. Williams’ technical expertise and focus included industry operations, process change and improvement, as well as preparedness and response to major oil and gas incidents. Because of this work and leadership, Mr. Williams helped to create the COS and establish the Marine Well Containment Company—an industry sponsored company continuously ready to respond to a well control incident. After a 40-year career, Mr. Williams retired from Shell Oil as Global Chief Scientist in 2012. During his tenure at Shell, Mr. Williams acquired extensive technical expertise in the upstream oil and gas industry, holding many technical and senior managerial positions including Global Vice President of Research and Development (R&D). Mr. Williams’ technical work has included the development of equipment, policies and procedures, and best practices for extreme environment wells. Mr. Williams has testified and presented extensively on process improvement, safety management, drilling, drilling safety, and technology to various groups including Congressional Committees, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Chemical Safety Board, Presidential Commission on Deepwater Horizon, International Regulators Forum, 11th National Conference on Science, Policy, and Environment, and the Marine Board of the National Academies. Mr. Williams has a BS in mechanical engineering from the University of Tennessee and is a licensed Professional Engineer.


Mark Hutchins - (Staff Officer)
Mark Hutchins is a senior program officer for the Transportation Research Board (TRB) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. He has served as study director for consensus studies on topics that include an evaluation of the U.S. offshore oil and gas inspection program, a cost assessment of U.S. polar icebreakers, the application of remote real-time monitoring to offshore oil and gas operations, and worker health and safety for offshore wind farms. Mr. Hutchins has also supported TRB studies on testing electronically controlled pneumatic brakes for high-hazard flammable trains and determining future U.S. air traffic controller staffing needs. Before joining TRB in 2010, Mr. Hutchins worked as a senior consultant and project manager for Macro Design Group, providing program analysis and program management support to public and private sector clients. Prior to that, Mr. Hutchins worked as a project manager and systems analyst for Northrop Grumman Information Technology, where he managed web development, data capacity, and data mining projects. Mr. Hutchins has an MA in political science from The American University and a BA in political science from the University of North Carolina, Asheville.

Disclosure of Conflicts of Interest

Disclosure of Conflict of Interest: Charles R. (Charlie) Williams II

The conflict of interest policy of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (https://www.nationalacademies.org/about/institutional-policies-and-procedures) prohibits the appointment of an individual to a committee authoring a Consensus Study Report if the individual has a conflict of interest that is relevant to the task to be performed. An exception to this prohibition is permitted if the National Academies determines that the conflict is unavoidable and the conflict is publicly disclosed. A determination of a conflict of interest for an individual is not an assessment of that individual's actual behavior or character or ability to act objectively despite the conflicting interest.
Mr. Charlie Williams has a conflict of interest in relation to his service on the Committee on the Progress and Opportunities toward Decreasing the Risk of Offshore Energy Operations because he serves as a consultant to the Center for Offshore Safety (COS), which was created by the American Petroleum Institute in response to the Macondo oil spill of 2010. Mr. Williams retired as the Executive Director of COS in May 2020.
The National Academies has concluded that for this committee to accomplish the tasks for which it was established its membership must include at least one person who has current experience in industry-led changes in drilling engineering and technology designed to decrease the systemic risks of offshore oil and gas operations. As described in his biographical summary, Mr. Williams has extensive technical experience and specialized expertise in the development of offshore equipment, policies and procedures, and risk management for wells in extreme environments.

The National Academies has determined that the experience and expertise of Mr. Williams is needed for the committee to accomplish the task for which it has been established. The National Academies could not find another available individual with the equivalent experience and expertise who does not have a conflict of interest. Therefore, the National Academies has concluded that the conflict is unavoidable.
The National Academies believes that Mr. Williams can serve effectively as a member of the committee, and the committee can produce an objective report, taking into account the composition of the committee, the work to be performed, and the procedures to be followed in completing the study.


Disclosure of Conflict of Interest: Dwight Johnston

The conflict of interest policy of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (https://www.nationalacademies.org/about/institutional-policies-and-procedures) prohibits the appointment of an individual to a committee authoring a Consensus Study Report if the individual has a conflict of interest that is relevant to the task to be performed. An exception to this prohibition is permitted if the National Academies determines that the conflict is unavoidable and the conflict is publicly disclosed. A determination of a conflict of interest for an individual is not an assessment of that individual's actual behavior or character or ability to act objectively despite the conflicting interest.
Dwight Johnston has a conflict of interest in relation to his service on the Committee on the Progress and Opportunities toward Decreasing the Risk of Offshore Energy Operations because he serves as a consultant for clients in the oil and gas industry and has financial holdings in energy companies that exceed $10,000 in value.
The National Academies has concluded that for this committee to accomplish the tasks for which it was established its membership must include at least one person who has current experience implementing safety management systems for the oil and gas industry. As described in his biographical summary, Mr. Johnston has extensive experience and specialized expertise in developing and implementing safety and environmental management systems (SEMS) and process safety management programs for the oil and gas industry.
The National Academies has determined that the experience and expertise of Mr. Johnston is needed for the committee to accomplish the task for which it has been established. The National Academies could not find another available individual with the equivalent experience and expertise who does not have a conflict of interest. Therefore, the National Academies has concluded that the conflict is unavoidable.
The National Academies believes that Mr. Johnston can serve effectively as a member of the committee, and the committee can produce an objective report, taking into account the composition of the committee, the work to be performed, and the procedures to be followed in completing the study.

Events


Event Type :  
Meeting

Description :   

The meeting was held entirely in closed session.


Registration for Online Attendance :   
NA

Registration for in Person Attendance :   
NA


If you would like to attend the sessions of this event that are open to the public or need more information please contact

Contact Name:  Thelma Cox
Contact Email:  TCox@nas.edu
Contact Phone:  (202) 334-1734

Supporting File(s)
-
Is it a Closed Session Event?
Yes

Closed Session Summary Posted After the Event

The following committee members were present at the closed sessions of the event:

Richard A. Sears (chair)
Norman A. Abrahamson (NAE)
Paul G. Bradley
Manson K. Brown
Paul S. Fischbeck
Ulku G. Oktem
S. Camille Peres
Gary A. Reiter
Kathy A. Seabrook
Charles R. Williams

The following topics were discussed in the closed sessions:

The committee's statement of task

The following materials (written documents) were made available to the committee in the closed sessions:

Committee members' written comments.

Date of posting of Closed Session Summary:
October 14, 2020
Publication(s) resulting from the event:

-

Event Type :  
Meeting

Description :   

This committee will examine issues related to and assess progress toward decreasing the systemic risks of offshore oil and gas operations, keeping people and the environment safe as the Gulf of Mexico offshore energy industry evolves.

In this open session, representatives from the National Academies’ Gulf Research Program will discuss their expectations for the study, followed by a Q&A period with committee members.   



Registration for in Person Attendance :   
NA


If you would like to attend the sessions of this event that are open to the public or need more information please contact

Contact Name:  Thelma Cox
Contact Email:  TCox@nas.edu
Contact Phone:  (202) 334-1734

Supporting File(s)
-
Is it a Closed Session Event?
Some sessions are open and some sessions are closed

Closed Session Summary Posted After the Event

The following committee members were present at the closed sessions of the event:

Richard A. Sears (chair)
Norman A. Abrahamson (NAE)
Lilia A. Abron (NAE)
Paul G. Bradley
Manson K. Brown
Paul S. Fischbeck
Dwight Johnston
Ulku G. Oktem
S. Camille Peres
Gary A. Reiter
Kathy A. Seabrook
Charles R. Williams

The following topics were discussed in the closed sessions:

1. NRC policies and procedures
2. Committee's statement of task
3. Potential sources of bias and conflicts of interest
4. Information presented during the committee's public-information gathering sessions
5. Future meetings

The following materials (written documents) were made available to the committee in the closed sessions:

N/A

Date of posting of Closed Session Summary:
September 16, 2020
Publication(s) resulting from the event:

-

Publications

  • Publications having no URL can be seen at the Public Access Records Office
Publications

No data present.