Building On Our “NO HARM” Culture

We continue to build on the foundation of our NO HARM culture.

A survey to gauge our safety culture conducted in the fourth quarter of 2015 generated an overwhelming 87 percent response rate. The results confirmed a shift to a more proactive safety culture and will serve as a benchmark for future growth toward our goal of a culture of sustainable excellence.

One new tool is a field visit guide for management to engage field personnel in conversations and reinforce hazard identification and risk mitigation. Principles from our “Leading NO HARM” workshop are threaded throughout the “Leadership Engagement Visit” guide, which reinforces senior managers’ abilities to use meaningful stories to connect safety to our culture and to demonstrate their own safety commitment and hazard awareness.

Another innovation is the NO HARM Observation App, a digital observation and corrective action tool that enables employees to capture and share potential hazards. By controlling precursors to incidents, we can continue to reduce actual incidents. From the launch of the NO HARM app through year-end 2015, U.S. onshore observations submitted nearly doubled from 2,254 to 4,464. Offshore observations submitted also increased from 1,483 to 1,562. The submittal of observations can help to significantly reduce or eliminate potential incidents by promoting conversations that help to define and reinforce positive behaviors.

Safety Education

More than 2,000 Noble Energy employees and contractors have participated in our full-day “Leading NO HARM” workshops since they were piloted in 2013. Other major safety education programs in 2015:

  • In 2015, more than 100 participants globally completed our “Keep it in the Pipe” process safety workshop, which reinforces NO HARM by focusing on major incident prevention and safe operations. The one-day instructor-led workshop is designed to engage employees in discussions about their roles in procedures that keep hydrocarbons where they need to be: in the pipe, hose, tank or vessel or wellbore.
  • Our Gulf of Mexico business unit hosted two safety summits for offshore employees in 2015. Each two-day summit included discussions on the business unit’s Safety and Environmental Management Systems (SEMS) and operations-specific content in preparation for the 2016 SEMS audit by the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE).
  • Our DJ Basin business unit hosted five safety summits for an estimated 350 onshore contractors. The all-day summits, conducted by operations and Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) leadership, included discussions on NO HARM, the EHS Manual, and leadership field engagement.
  • In the Gulf of Mexico business unit, pre-project training has now been delivered to more than 500 employees and contractors in 28 sessions. The Eastern Mediterranean business unit project team also incorporated this training into its schedule for the Tamar turnaround project (a major planned shutdown for repair and maintenance) and conducted seven training sessions for 168 employees and contractors, using both Hebrew and Spanish translators. The project was executed incident-free.

Simulation Facility Advances Safety Training

In 2015, Noble Energy opened a first-of-its-kind, covered production simulation training facility at its new training center in Greeley, Colorado. The realistic hands-on production simulator provides a hydrocarbon-free training environment as well as year-round indoor and outdoor training. The training center simulates a production lease site in full operation, with 18 pieces of functional equipment, including automation. It simulates production flow using lightly compressed air and features equipment cut-outs to improve understanding of internal functions.

In October, we provided a tour of the new facility to the Weld County Local Emergency Planning Committee, whose members include elected state and local officials, police departments, fire departments, public health professionals, environmental groups, transportation companies and hospital officials, as well as representatives from the industry, community groups and the media. The training center is now used by local fire fighters and emergency response teams to train for oil and gas-related operations.

Emergency Response Drills

We strengthened and tested our emergency response preparedness through drills conducted across our operations. Major emergency response exercises were conducted in 2015 in our Eastern Mediterranean, West Africa and Gulf of Mexico business units and in the Falkland Islands.

In Israel, an oil spill response exercise used a simulated ship leak to challenge the ability of the Israel Incident Management Team (IMT) to respond to an emergency. The IMT was tasked with responding to a simulated spill that affected Israeli waters and threatened our two platforms. The team successfully completed the exercise, providing life safety response to protect offshore crews and Noble Energy’s assets. These included marshalling local contract resources, deploying responders and creating a Common Operational Picture for real time situational awareness.

The Gulf of Mexico Business Unit conducted a functional exercise simulating a helicopter crash on platform approach. The exercise scenario included multiple injured parties, search and rescue capability, emergency procedures on the platform and response to a limited hydrocarbon discharge to water.

The first functional exercise for Noble Energy in the Falkland Islands focused on initial response actions to a well control event with injuries. Evaluators from the Department of Mineral Resources, the Department of Fisheries and Royal Falkland Island Police participated.

Simulation Exercises

A simulation exercise was conducted at the Israel Ashdod Onshore Terminal, where gas is received from the offshore fields we operate and then sent to providers for electricity generation within Israel. A fire was simulated that required a response by facility personnel and local fire and police department resources.

In Cyprus, Noble Energy participated in the annual Joint Rescue Coordination Center simulation exercise, acting as the responsible party that had a simulated mass casualty incident aboard a drill ship. Using this exercise planning scenario, the Cyprus IMT and additional governmental agency personnel were able to determine the “limits” of local search and rescue capability, the logistical concerns as other countries provided resources to help with the medical emergency and created new expectations for the Business Unit to consider as we prepare for enhanced operations in the future.

Responding to Severe Weather in Texas

In October, Hurricane Patricia created an opportunity for the new Texas business unit to exercise its severe weather plan. Hitting the Pacific coast of Mexico as a Category 5 storm, the hurricane impacted south and west Texas at nearly a Category 2. Successful preparation of Noble Energy’s facilities and associated tank batteries resulted in an incident-free event. Enhanced life safety measures were implemented to ensure personnel were accounted throughout.

ATLAS, a new alternative truck loading system for locations equipped with automation, improves worker safety.

Boosting Awareness of Office and Home Safety

Both the Houston and Denver offices hosted an inaugural Safety Day in October to make safety at work and at home top-of-mind for desk-based employees. In Houston and Denver, employee experts and external organizations shared information on how to stay safe. Topics addressed included animal control, safety for the elderly, public health, bicycle safety, and fire and personal safety.

Improving Safety Data Sheets for Third Parties

We have also enhanced our procedures for Safety Data Sheets (SDS) for employees and contractors by providing more accurate detail on characteristics such as explosive range, flammability, viscosity, and volatility. While the industry standard has long been to categorize unrefined petroleum products with generalized information, our region-specific SDS facilitate safe handling.  In order to enhance safe handling of our products, we continually review product data to increase the specificity of our SDS.