BP chief executive Bob Dudley has vowed to fight the company’s “battered” safety reputation following the disastrous Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The company’s in-house safety IT system, developed around Microsoft systems, will play a lead role.
The company revealed last month, in an internal report into the causes of the oil spill, that it will implement an “action plan” to address areas that “should be strengthened” to conform to the requirements of its Operating Management System, its central safety tool that specifies exact standardised processes. A “combination of system and equipment failures” had contributed to the accident, it said.
OMS, which was developed by BP in-house and built around Microsoft SharePoint and Performance Point, was introduced as a key safety step following the explosion in BP’s Texas City Refinery in 2005, which killed 15 workers and injured 170. The system is being implemented across the company’s operations in locally-tailored modules, following global standards. It is now in all US sites and will be rolled out by the end of the year to the remaining few sites.
The OMS system, described by BP in the past as the “cornerstone” of its safety efforts, is built around Microsoft SharePoint and Performance Point. It helps integrate local standards and management systems, set priorities, define processes and measure performance, and is accessible on BP PCs as well as mobile devices used by engineers on oil rigs.
A new safety unit will co-ordinate all efforts, including process and systems changes from lessons learned as a result of the Gulf oil spill. It will also co-ordinate the management of third-party contractors. OMS is likely to form a key part of this.
A spokesperson at BP told Computerworld UK that OMS would be used to achieve “basic operating standards safely, responsibly, reliably and consistently” as well as to ensure there is “reliable and well maintained equipment” in place, with the right people in the right places.
BP highlighted the “value of following tried and tested processes and regularly reviewing them”. The company will use OMS to prevent accidents, improve quality in operations, “simplify processes, remove duplication and waste”, and improve efficiency, she said.
Praising the “unique technology and excellent capabilities” at BP, he said the company was “committed to learning the lessons from these shattering events at all levels and in a way that goes far beyond the specifics of deepwater drilling”. Some knowledge would come from "other hazardous industries” including nuclear and chemicals companies, he said.
“There are lessons for us relating to the way we operate, the way we organize our company and the way we manage risk.”
BP, he said, had been “working intensively” to improve its safety systems and processes, and is splitting its ‘upstream’ businesses of exploration, development and production into separate units as part of efforts to ensure safety.
In a separate report issued by BP last month, the company said it was learning serious lessons in cloud computing, information and workflow management, as well as improving processes and other IT systems, as a result of efforts to clear up the oil spill.