Technical integrity audit for international minerals company

The operational safety regime of the oil and gas division of a major international mineral extraction company was investigated by a National Regulator following reports of unsafe practices. The investigation led to recognition by the company that improvements were needed and actions were put in place to improve its operational and safety practices. The company agreed that it would develop a rolling annual schedule of audits which would cover all of the key elements of operational safety.

ESR Technology was subsequently commissioned to audit the organisation’s management of technical integrity. The audit team comprised two of ESR Technology’s senior management consultants. A representative from the National Regulator and the local “Competent Authority” were present for the majority of the audit.

The scope of the audit included the design and production phases of major onshore and offshore assets including development and research facilities, an offshore gas production and related GTL project, onshore gas production and offshore oil and gas production via FPSOs. The objective of the audit was to assess the technical integrity management of the assets against the company’s own objectives and standards. As a first step a review was carried out of these objectives and standards and comparisons were made with internationally accepted best practices.

The audits were carried out by ESR Technology, in conjunction with the National Regulator and local “Competent Authority”, at the organisation’s operational control centres, design offices and at each operational plant. They addressed design standards, construction and commissioning arrangements, operational procedures, asset registers, inspection, testing and maintenance regimes and related computerised maintenance management systems (CMMS), management of change (MoC), technical integrity reporting, anomaly tracking and training and competency.

At the end of the six week audit, ESR Technology presented the main findings to the company’s senior managers, which included a judgement by the audit team as to whether the management of technical integrity was in line with international best practice and if it would be acceptable in more highly regulated countries.

The final audit report included detailed findings, conclusions and recommendations which were used by the company, following discussions with ESR Technology, to develop and implement an appropriate remedial action plan. The audit methodology, implementation and report fully satisfied the National Regulator’s requirement for a thorough and independent assessment of the company’s management of technical integrity.

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