Directors' Report: Business review
Environment, Health and Safety
Over 6.6 million hours were worked, representing an 18% increase on 2008. As a result, EHS teams throughout Tullow undertook a number of very significant work programmes. The key to successful EHS performance is to ensure that line management are fully supportive of and engaged with EHS.
Tullow’s EHS Leadership Team, which was set up in late-2008, and comprises 21 senior personnel with specific responsibility for higher risk activities across Tullow. This group is led by Paul McDade, Chief Operating Officer.
During the course of 2009 Tullow, with the support of its partners and the Ghana Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), carried out the stipulated Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the Jubilee Field, an offshore development situated 60 km off the coast of Ghana. The project’s scale set high expectations and created keen interest. To address this, extensive public consultations across the Western and Central regions of Ghana was undertaken as part of the EIA programme. This allowed Tullow to communicate information on the proposed development, and listen to concerns from key stakeholders that were then carried forward into the EIA process. In December 2009, the Ghana EPA issued the first part of a two-stage approval to cover the installation and commissioning phase of the project. The EIA met both Ghanaian legislative requirements and international good practice.
Similarly in French Guiana, before Tullow could begin its seismic activities offshore it was important to develop a baseline understanding of marine biodiversity to ensure we mitigated any negative impacts from our operations. In 2009, we began conducting an EIA. We partnered with the South Paris University to assist us and are working closely with the Government and national environmental regulators to ensure we acquire a sound understanding, particularly of the marine mammals and turtles that are known to occupy the area.
In 2009 in the Lake Albert Rift Basin in Uganda, we drilled the Ngassa-2 well, which had to be sensitively located due to subsurface constraints and distance under the lake of the target location. All personnel involved in the Ngassa-2 project, including our rig contractors, subcontractors, and local employees worked closely with us to ensure that the project was completed with no safety issues and no negative environmental legacy. While the remediation work is ongoing, it is clear that full reinstatement of the Ngassa-2 site is achievable.
First ever fatality
The safety of our staff, contractors and members of the public involved in our operations is a core value for Tullow and we focus our energy on maintaining safe places of work and establishing high safety standards in all that we do. In May 2009, however, we failed to manage this adequately and Tullow suffered its first ever fatality when one of our subcontractors was electrocuted at a construction site in the Bangora gas field in Bangladesh.
Following this incident, we made the site safe and initiated a full investigation. Three senior managers were mobilised to Bangladesh and together with the local team delivered a comprehensive investigation that was fully documented. The investigation team reported progress directly to the Tullow Board, who remained actively involved in this incident and the ongoing actions. We also sought to provide support to this man’s family and continue to do so.
While clearly any death is one too many, Tullow has worked hard to identify improvements from this incident and implement them across the Group. We embarked on a communication exercise to ensure everyone in Tullow understood what happened and reached approximately 85% of all parties in Tullow over a six-week period. In other areas, a revised electrical inspection programme identified a series of installation improvements. Our Bangladesh team implemented several operational improvements at the Bangora site including an improved third party electrical inspection programme, contractor management and clarity on roles and responsibilities.
We also undertook an independent health and safety audit and identified some key learnings, which focus on our management system including understanding of risk, the management of change and the lack of formal audit programme. All of which will be actioned in 2010.
Health and safety
A key health initiative introduced in 2009 was developing and implementing a Group malaria programme. Malaria is a very serious illness and is prevalent in many of the countries where Tullow operates. We are strongly aware that malaria presents a serious health risk to individuals in our workforce who are travelling to, or working in malaria-endemic areas, and to the communities around our operations. Malaria is both preventable and curable, but can be fatal if not treated promptly. During the year Tullow developed and rolled out a malaria management policy in close consultation with the World Health Organisation and in line with International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (OGP) Malaria Guidelines for travellers. Tullow’s EHS Leadership Team has also developed a personal malaria programme and in-country programmes.
EHS Leadership Development
“In my role as Business Unit Manager Europe, I participated in the EHS Leadership Development training during 2009. I attended two three-day sessions covering two modules with others whose responsibilities include high risk EHS activities such as operations and drilling. Both modules provided a balance of theory, practice, policy, procedure and case studies. They are designed to include Tullow material, which makes the content relevant and real to all participants.
“This training provided a great opportunity to spend time with my Tullow peers and to listen to and understand their EHS challenges and lessons learnt. Perhaps most important though, was that we all took on the challenge of ensuring that our new learning is applied, and linked directly to continuous improvement in EHS performance at Tullow.”