BHP Billiton, Woodside Win APPEA Safety Awards

Woodside and BHP Billiton Petroleum are the big winners in the annual Safety Awards presented by the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) for 2008.

Woodside took out the "Safety Performance Award" and BHP Billiton Petroleum won the "Safety Innovation Award."

Toll Energy, Parker Drilling Company and Stena Drilling also won safety awards.

For the Safety Performance Award, companies with the best safety performance were short-listed and requested to submit an initiative undertaken by the company which has led to the greatest improvement in safety.

"From an outstanding field, this year's winner -- Woodside Energy -- took its aspiration of "no one gets hurt, no incidents" as the push behind a five year strategy, with 2007 being focussed on "getting the basics" right," Tim Wall, Managing Director of Apache Energy and Chair of the APPEA Environmental Affairs Committee, said when presenting the award.

"Woodside's strategic approach has been developed around three layers of protection to reduce the potential for major incidents - the three Ps: Plant, Process; and People," he said.

"The winner achieved a 16 % reduction in high potential incident frequency rate. A strong leadership focus, the improvement of 'Golden Safety Rules' and a serious commitment to working closely with contractors all contributed to Woodside's outstanding safety performance."

Mr Wall said the Safety Innovation Award - won by BHP Billiton Petroleum -- was not judged on safety performance, but on the merits of a safety initiative undertaken in 2007.

"The Judges were particularly impressed by the industry wide and significant safety implications of this year's winning initiative.

"BHP Billiton undertook a review of the top safety risks and risk control effectiveness leading to it identifying an improvement opportunity for lifting risk - how best to ensure ongoing competency of current and new crane drivers.

"The identification and development of a common standard for training Offshore Crane Operators is a great safety initiative for our industry."

In the Safety Innovation Award, Mr Wall said the judges also wanted to make special mention of Woodside, and its work to establish a safe shipping fairway from Dampier to Glomar Shoal -- again an initiative with significant industry wide implications that has reduced the risk of collision between vessels and offshore oil and gas facilities and the threat of security to assets.

In the APPEA Contractor Innovation Award, the winner was Toll Energy with what the judges said was a clearly demonstrated and practical safety initiative that developed the best solution to an identified safety problem.

The Toll Energy initiative was based eliminating the use of dogs (over centre lever binder) and handle extensions from lifting operations. The Company's strategy has led to the successful elimination of dogs in a number of key areas and ongoing plans eliminate their use across remaining activities.

The International Association of Drilling Contractors also presents awards to the members of the Australasian chapter for outstanding safety performance. The administration of the IADC safety award programme is carried out by Pricewaterhouse Coopers on a voluntary basis.

This year, there were five companies that did not have a lost time injury during operations in Australasia, including: Atwood Oceanics, Nabors Drilling International, Nabors Well Servicing, Stena Drilling and Transocean.

This year the Onshore Drilling Operations Award goes Parker Drilling Company which demonstrated consistent performance by winning the past four consecutive awards.

The Offshore Drilling Operations Award was taken out by Stena Drilling.

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