“…why spoil a good story by the introduction of facts including the facts about Shell’s great Alaskan misadventure for example…”
COMMENT RECEIVED FROM MR BILL CAMPBELL, RETIRED HSE GROUP AUDITOR, SHELL INTERNATIONAL RE OUR ARTICLE ABOUT SHELL EXPLORATION MANAGER ROLAND SPUIJ (PERSON ON RIGHT)
Re your article: Shell exploration manager Roland Spuij – deluded or ignorant?
Deluded and or ignorant, no, Mr Spuij is just reading from the script, repeating the standard Shell propaganda that Safety is our No 1 priority and will never be compromised, despite any facts to the contrary.
Although as he says Shell were not involved in the Transocean Deepwater Horizon disaster – according to Peter R Voser a disaster that Shell in any case would have avoided due to its superior standards – he fails to mention the Transocean SEDCO 711 incident when this mobile drilling unit had a near blowout whilst operating in the North Sea on behalf of Shell – you covered all this in detail at the time on your web pages.
But why spoil a good story by the introduction of facts including the facts about Shell’s great Alaskan misadventure for example where:
Shell experienced a number of significant problems when operating outside of its core drilling competencies, and in particular when relying on contractors to deliver critical components or to conduct certain operations according to the US Dept of Interior report.
These have been well documented such as the grounding of the Kulluk and the detention in port of the Noble Discoverer due to many deficiencies. But Shell’s incompetence in managing its contractors were manifest in other areas also.
The Dept of Interior report highlights that Shell did experience challenges with its in-theater logistical operations with its 520 or so helicopter flights in 2012, particularly in the area of aviation. Inspectors reported that on multiple occasions that Shell’s helicopter contractor did not enforce survival suit requirements for trips offshore.
In addition, the helicopters lacked deicing equipment.
Risk of catastrophic failure can be best quantified from historic data. In March 1992, a Public Inquiry put the root cause of a helicopter ditching at Cormorant Alpha down to ice formation on the aircraft rotor blades when it sat rotors turning on the platform heli-deck whilst embarking passengers during what was described at the time as Arctic weather conditions. There was significant loss of life. Although many survived the initial ditching they died of hypothermia prior to being rescued despite all wearing survival suits. Cold water survival in these conditions can be as little as twenty minutes. Those who did survive did so because of the protection given by the suits. This incident spawned the Adverse Weather Policy in the North Sea restricting flying under certain weather and sea conditions. Our American cousins seem not to have learned from this incident, an incident not only in their industry but in their Company.
Also and significantly, helicopters utilised in the Alaskan operations were unable to fly under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR), creating operational constraints on personnel movement and potential safety issues.
But, Safety is, and always will be Shell’s No 1 priority. I think this is what our American cousins describe as talking the talk