The Risk Management Tool Box Blog

Annual Report for the Risk Management Tool Box

Graham Marshall - Saturday, December 29, 2012

The shareholders of the Risk Management Tool Box Pty Ltd are pleased to publish the Business' Performance Results for 2012.

We know that open and honest talking with our stake-holders is important to building trust and earning respect.

We therefore openly provide information about our business, including reporting our performance against our annual targets.

2012 was another excellent year for our business.

Although there has been a gloomy global economic climate, our continued focus on the core business needs of our cornerstone customers ensured we've weathered the storm. 

In 2012 we benefited from our business' continued presence in the economic powerhouse of Western Australia, and our recognition of the future role of "unconventionals".

Our strategic focus on the needs of our key customers in "unconventionals" in the three "boom" areas of WA, coal-seam gas around Roma in the Surat Basin in Queensland, and in the "black-gold" boom in the Bakken in North Dakota, USA has kept us 100% busy throughout 2012.

Key accomplishments for the Risk Tool Box in 2012 include:

•  Co-winning with Hess Corporation, the Society of Petroleum Engineers' (SPE) and APPEAs Global Safety Innovation Award for 2012;

•  Broadening our knowledge and understanding about risk management requirements in unconventional oil and gas - particularly around "completion operations" and "frac";

•  Exceeding cash-flow and profitability targets;

•  Continuing to run a debt-free and cash-flow positive business for another straight year;

•  Meeting our tax obligations to the ATO;

•  Developing and commercialising our Hazard Observation Program with field-based trials with Eni (Australia);

•  Continuing our program of charitable donations throughout 2012;

•  Not recording any lost-time injuries;

•  Continuing to publish our Risk Tool Box safety blog as a free industry resource on a daily basis; and

•  Having a lot of fun along the way!

Unfortunately, we did not meet all of our targets. Performance was not as good as we had hoped in the following areas:

•  Our 49% shareholding in Eveleigh Consulting Pty Ltd (formerly trading as An Mea WA) has once again proved a great disapointment - with $0 delivered against our investment by Steve Williams and Sean O'Donnell, the management team of that business; and

•  We have not been successful in recruiting the people we need to grow the training-arm of our business;

But, despite those minor setbacks, we will continue to focus on our strong relationships with existing clients in Santos, Hess, Shell Development Australia and Fremantle Ports.

We will also continue to leverage the strengths of our staff in delivering high quality work from our offices in Perth to:

•  Consolidate and grow relationships with existing clients; and

•  Diversify our client base in our target industry sectors of oil and gas, particularly those involved in "unconventional" hydrocarbons.

Growth will be delivered by maintaining our office in Perth, and enhancing our training program with new customers.

Our strategy for 2012 has delivered value to our shareholders. It’s great to continue to return strong profitability and to reward the hard work of our staff by once again paying profit-based bonuses in 2012.

We are very confident that our continued presence in Perth, Roma (QLD), and in the Bakken, and our current focus on "unconventional" hydrocarbons means we're on the leading edge of the breaking wave in energy supply.

We are excited about our future and our growth plans are realistic and sustainable.

Common Safety Training Program for Experienced Workers

Graham Marshall - Sunday, September 30, 2012

The APPEA industry forum on Tuesday 14th August 2012 identified that experienced workers (those with more than one year's industry experience) can have their Recognized Prior Learning ("RPL") status confirmed within the Common Safety Training Program (CSTP) if they have previously completed the Hazard and Risk Management Training Program offered by the Risk Tool Box.

According to the CSTP Independent Reviewer, the Risk Tool Box training program meets the Recognized Prior Learning status for the CSTP module "Identify Hazards and Assess Risk".

The confirmation of our RPL status by APPEA and the CSTP means that company's with offshore workers could save themselves thousands of dollars in future additional training costs.

That is because the Risk Tool Box training program already addresses the Step-back, Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) and Qualitative Risk Assessment RPL requirements within the CSTP framework.

The confirmation of RPL status for our training course is applicable to more than 10,000 employees and contractors who have completed our Stepback and JHA training. 

HSE Managers and/or Training Managers in the following company's should now check their records for evidence of their workers attending our hazard awareness and JHA training:

+   TK Shipping;
+   BHP Billiton;

+   Hess;

+   Santos;

+   ENI;

+   Transfield Worley;+   Shell Development Australia;

+   Chevron;

+   Woodside; and

+   Other smaller contractors and suppliers who work in offshore production and/or drilling facilities.

We will also continue to assist any company with its Hazard Awareness, Stepback, JHA, Risk Assessment and HazOp Training requirements using our industry-leading program. 

And unlike certain other organizations that have come to WA from Aberdeen, NSW, or elsewhere to make some quick cash from our boom, we're a proudly Australian business with a WA-developed program from the start back in 1998!

CSTP Confirms Recognized Prior Learning for Risk Tool Box

Graham Marshall - Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Alf Standen (Independent Reviewer) has confirmed to Dr Graham Marshall of the Risk Tool Box, that offshore workers who have attended the Hazard and Risk Management Training Program offered by the Risk Tool Box over recent years may have "recognized prior learning" (RPL) status within the the Common Safety Training Program (CSTP) module called "Identify Hazards and Assess Risk".

According to the confirmation by the CSTP Independent Reviewer, workers who have completed the Risk Tool Box training program addressing Step-back, Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) and Qualitative Risk  Assessment may meet the RPL requirements within the CSTP framework."  

The confirmation was made verbally in response to a question put to Alf Standan.  In all cases, Organizations and individuals wishing to learn the status of RPL, should contact either APPEA or the independant reviewer for further confirmation of thier status.

According to the confirmation by CSTP Independent Reviewer, workers who have completed the Risk Tool Box training program addressing Step-back, Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) and Qualitative Risk Assessment may meet the RPL requirements within the CSTP framework.

The confirmation of RPL status for our training course may be applicable to more than 10,000 employees and contractors who have completed our Stepback and JHA training. 

We suggest that HSE Managers and/or Training Managers in the following organizations check their training matrix records for evidence of their workers attending our hazard management program since 1998:

+   Shell Development Australia;

+   Chevron;

+   Woodside;

+   BHP Billiton;

+   TK Shipping;
+   ENI;

+   Transfield Worley;

+   Hess;

+   Santos; and

+   Other smaller contractors and suppliers who work offshore on the NW Shelf or further afield.

Of course, we will be also happy to continue to assist any organization with its Hazard and Risk Management Training requirements for Stepback, JHA or Risk Assessment using our World-class program.

Safety Checklist for Petrol Station Operators

Graham Marshall - Monday, July 30, 2012

Petrol filling stations are potentially dangerous places because the general public with little or no training actively handles a range of classified dangerous goods.  These hazardous substances included flammable liquids like petrol, liquefied petroleum gas and combustible liquids like diesel.

But refilling a vehicle on a garage forecourt is so routine that it may be thought to be an entirely safe process.

And although it is true that very few incidents occur at petrol stations, the accidents that do occur can have very serious consequences.

Many people are injured and some are killed each year resulting from incidents when refueling vehicles.

The risk potential can, however, be minimized by implementing simple controls that prevent incidents or assist in responding to them should they occur.

To start with, petrol station operators must ensure that their employees are not complacent about the hazards at work.

Employees must be well trained in emergency response procedures so they can react immediately and appropriately to incidents.

To assist operators ensure that good controls are in place, this free self-check guide will assist in the safe operation of supervised self-service petrol stations.

The free checklist identifies key elements that an individual without extensive knowledge or training can check.

Attending to these key elements can significantly minimize the risk from dangerous goods at petrol stations.

Sub-sea First Response Toolkit (SFRT)

Graham Marshall - Saturday, July 07, 2012

Twelve of the World's largest oil and gas companies have committed $25.2 million towards an Australian industry program to deal with the potential for uncontrolled oil and gas leaks.

Woodside Petroleum is joined by Royal Dutch Shell, Apache, Chevron, BHP Billiton, ConocoPhillips, Eni, INPEX, Santos, ExxonMobil, PTTP, and BP.  Each partner has committed $2.1 million to the new program.

The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) will co-ordinate the program and the 12 companies will commit the funds over five years to ensure access to a sub-sea first response toolkit (SFRT).

The SFRT is designed to address the risk of any uncontrolled discharge from offshore sub-sea oil and gas wells.

The specialized equipment will be located in Australia and contracted through the industry-funded Australian Marine Oil Spill Center (AMOSC) for immediate mobilization if there is an sub-sea blow-out.

The SFRT contains all equipment needed to clean the area around the wellhead, enable intervention and prepare for relief well drilling and safe installation of a capping device.

All Australian offshore operators will be able to access the SFRT on an affordable basis.

Speaking at the launch of the program, APPEA chief executive David Byers said "The continued development of offshore oil and gas is essential for Australia's prosperity and energy security, but the industry must ensure we have access to the latest systems, technology and expertise to achieve the highest standards for our environment and safety performance."

Mr Byers said the Montara and Macondo offshore oil spill disasters, and subsequent inquiry recommendations, had highlighted the need for the international offshore petroleum exploration and production industry to create a capability for fast and effective response to uncontrolled hydrocarbons releases.


Australian Gas Technology Conference and Exhibition

Graham Marshall - Monday, May 28, 2012

The Australian Gas Technology Conference will take place between the 25th and 27th July, 2012 at the Perth Conference Centre in Western Australia.

The AGT Conference has been developed by a select committee chaired by The University of Western Australia, Energy and Minerals Institute.

The AGT Conference includes presentations from Chevron, Woodside and Shell and the program includes sessions on:
• Gas Technology;
• Innovation;
• Unconventional Gas and Energy Security;
• Resourcing Skills Shortage; and
• Geosequestration.



Unconventional Oil

Graham Marshall - Thursday, April 26, 2012

Unconventional oil fields are those that have needed higher than industry-standard extraction technology and greater levels of investment to explore and produce.

At one time, sub-sea sources of oil from the continental shelves - the Gulf of Mexico, North-sea and Australian NW-Shelf were "unconventional".

Today, however, the two most common types of unconventional oil are found onshore in oil-bearing shale and the oil-sands.

Up until the mid-1990s, with simpler, cheaper and more readily available sources of oil available from the Middle-East and elsewhere, unconventional oil was overlooked.

But with higher prices for oil and a desire in the USA for energy security and a reduced reliance on Arab oil, domestic investment in unconventional oil has risen dramatically.

The result is that these new sources of oil are coming onstream in North Dakota, Ohio, Texas and elsewhere.

Whether by luck or good judgement, the Risk Management Toolbox has been at the forefront of safety implementation in unconventional oil development since our business began.

Our cornerstone customers in the Bakken (ND) and the Surat basin (Queensland) have kept us busy because they've come to know that our unconventional approach to HSE is proven!

We think we're fortunate to have been a leader in developing safe systems of work for the unconventional oil sector.

And we know we're lucky to work with unconventional businesses that see value beyond the conventional - whether it be conventional oil and gas, or conventional safety programs. 

We love working with unconventional leaders!  It's what makes us get up in the morning!

Unconventional Gas

Graham Marshall - Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Unconventional gas resources are those that typically have required greater than industry-standard levels of technology or investment to harvest.

The three most common types of unconventional gas resources are tight sands, coalseam methane (CSM), and shale gas.

In early times, with simpler, cheaper and more readily available sources of hydrocarbons at hand, unconventional gas was overlooked.

But with the search for newer and more secure sources of energy, particularly in the USA, which no longer wishes to be reliant on middle-eastern oil, has come increased investment in unconventional gas exploitation.

The result is that these new sources of gas are now abundant and the price of gas is at record lows as more projects come onstream

The Risk Management Toolbox has been at the forefront of safety implementation in unconventional gas development since our business began.

You could say that our business success is built on being unconventional! 

And it is this unconventional approach that our customers have come to expect.

The cornerstone customers of our business come to us because they know we consistently strived to develop unconventional methods of making HSE work.

And that is why the Risk Tool Box is at the forefront in developing safe systems of work for the unconventional gas sector.

So, if you're on the look-out for unconventional ways to get your safety program rolled-out, it might just be time for you to act in an unconventional manner. You can contact us via the "contact us" page of the website.

10 ways to reduce concerns about fracking

Graham Marshall - Monday, October 24, 2011

If you haven't been following the blog posts over recent days about the outrage potential within the community regarding hydraulic fracturing for coal seam gas (CSG) and other non-conventionals, then it may  be worth going back over the last week and taking a look.

Today, I am going to share 10 tips that work to reduce the outrage potential of any issue such as fracking.  Before doing so,  however, you should understand that we at the Risk Tool Box consider hydraulic fracturing to be a perfectly acceptable hydrocarbon recovery process and without undue risk when managed in accordance with Western standards of oil-field work. 

The problem for us is not with fracking per se, but rather, the negative community perception towards fracking which could pose a significant risk to the CSG industry and this valuable, clean and sustainable energy source.  That's why we're putting forward the tips that work to reduce outrage.

Each of the tips offered today reduce outrage because they work to foster trust and promote honesty.


1.  Tell people any bad news that they already know.  Hearing the facts about bad news from industry is always better than leaving the facts to be exaggerated by the highly involved anti-CSG activists.  You’ll gain credit for your candor, and saying something is always better than saying nothing because it reduces uncertainty in the community.

2.  It sounds odd, but repeat bad news as often as you can.  People want to hear bad news until they’re sick of the topic - not until you’re sick of talking about it.  Wallowing in bad information is the best way to get past it.  People will tire of bad news faster if you raise it rather than them digging for it.

3.  You must demonstrate your concern about the community concerns.  But, do not use the word regret - only to be used by weasel lawyers and snake-eyed politicians.   You'll also get no credit for conditional apologizing - “We’re sorry IF anyone is upset”. Public response - “what do you mean IF?”  Apologizing means knowing what was done and why people find that it is upsetting.  Being sorry DOES NOT have to mean acknowledging liability.

4.  Be up front and tell the community about bad news they will discover.   It’s always better when people hear it straight from industry (i.e., the facts) rather than the exaggerated claims they will hear from anti-CSG activists.
Don’t wait for the exaggerated claims to come from journo’s, activists, etc.

5.  Consider telling bad news that people won’t discover.  Firstly, the information may become public later - which will be worse.  Damaging information is far more damaging when it appears to have been kept secret.  When you reveal damaging information that you didn’t have to reveal, you’ll get a public perception for transparency.   People begin to notice when you do something wrong because you say so.  It follows that when you don’t say so, you didn’t do anything wrong!

6.  Always provide information that isn’t bad but might sound bad to the community.  Benign information that may sound worrying will worry people if they hear it from eco-activists - who will always exaggerate the size, scale or magnitude of the problem to drive their agenda.  The community will be much less outraged to hear about perceived problems from you.

7.  Don’t keep anyone in the dark.  Convey news equally to everyone.  All critics - even those in the anti-CSG camp should be on the “must tell “A” list”.  They’ll be upset and angry to be left off!  Give an early heads up to anyone the media may call.  Anyone not in the know will choose to sound critical rather than ignorant.

8.   Whenever there is bad news, people look to one of four explanations -
A. You were unlucky (act of god),
B. You were the victim (somebody else did it),
C. You made a mistake (you’re stupid),
D. You did it on purpose (you’re evil).
Admitting to your mistakes (you were stupid) stops people believing you’re evil, which is always the worst promoter of outrage and the one that the anti-CSG activists will promote.  

9.  Whenever you tell someone something that you know they will have difficulty believing (usually good news from an oil company), tell them they’re going to have trouble believing it.  In other words, acknowledge incredibility.  Acknowledge that the burden of proof is on you.  “I know, that’s what I thought when I started here and it took weeks for me to be convinced I was wrong”.

10.  Tell people the good news about fracking and the benefits of CSG recovery.  It may not be believed but tell people the good news anyway.


Managing the outrage potential of "fracking"

Graham Marshall - Saturday, October 22, 2011

Over the previous days I've been posting about the risk to the coal seam gas (CSG) industry posed by the potential for community outrage surrounding hydraulic fracturing ("fracking").

From a technical - well integrity - standpoint, the level and type of risk associated with fracking is largely insignificant provided standard industry practices are used in well development.  But this fact has not been enough to prevent fracking getting a bad press.  So what can be done by those with CSG resources to manage the potential for community concern?

The level of risk associated with fracking is “objectively small” for organizations working under Australian and UK legal standards, but green activists out there in the wider-World  think it is BIG!

Activists will always exaggerate the “worst case” and still  win support.  Unfortunately, the energy sector cannot exaggerate the “best case” and win support in the same way.

In order to counter the exaggerated claims of green activists, we need to acknowledge the (small) range of the problem with fracking.

We also need to tell people what we're doing to solve any problems with fracking.  We need to demonstrate responsiveness to the concerns of the community.

In order to reduce the potential for outrage, the CSG industry needs to adopt the following strategy:

1.  Openly and honestly share information about the dilemma of costs and benefits of fracking in developing CSG reserves.

2.  Acknowledge the existence of past problems in fracking and any current problems.

3.  Visualize a better future by demonstrating how we're wanting to solve the CSG problems.

4.  Share the problem-solving process with the community through good-quality stakeholder consultation.

In tomorrow's post, I'll highlight some great outrage prevention techniques.



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