In practical terms, how can we ensure everyone's safety everywhere we operate? At Total, we deploy a rigorous, structured operational approach that involves identifying risks, taking preventive ation and monitoring on a regular basis. This approach shapes the daily work of our employees and partners.
Why it matters
Safety is a prerequisite in our business. We can't operate without it. Our company’s reliability and sustainability depend on safety, which explains why it is so crucial to understand industrial risks and be rigorous and systematic in applying safety rules. These rules inform our safety approach and create the conditions for achieving our objective of being the benchmark for safety in our industry.
Our action guidelines: prevention and vigilance
To effectively anticipate potential issues, we systematically assess risks before a project or operation begins. Our comprehensive analytical methodology involves:
- Assessing all potential risks.
- Drawing up accident scenarios.
- Analyzing the most significant risks in detail.
- Implementing safety action plans in accordance with a priority scale that compares the level of severity with the likelihood of the event occurring.
The analysis continues throughout the operations in accordance with the same safety requirements.
Leveraging this data and knowledge, we devise safety systems, rules and measures that minimize risks. This can involve redesigning facilities and structures, strengthening protection procedures and updating production equipment.
In addition, crisis management plans are in place so that we can respond quickly and appropriately if an accident occurs. We also regularly organize drills to ensure these crisis plans are effective.
In November 2013, Total organized a crisis exercise off the Angolan coast. Code named "Lula", it aimed to help the Group prepare the most effective response in the event of a major offshore oil spill
The exercise simulated a leak from an underwater oil well located 1,000 meters below the surface. More than 400 people took part in the three-day simulation, including Total experts, partners and the Angolan authorities
Crisis centers were set up in France and Angola for the duration of the exercise and put in direct contact with the Angolan authorities
Aerial surveys, satellite imagery, drifters and spill modeling tools: several techniques and technologies were used to assess the size of the spill and how it was developing so we could adapt our response accordingly
For example, with the approval of the authorities, an observation balloon fitted with visible-light and infrared cameras was deployed to monitor the small spill day and night
Our experts at sea supervising the installation of a subsea dispersant injection system, which had been shipped from Norway to the Angolan base
Once installed 1,000 meters underwater, the injection system secured surface operations to regain control of the well and clean up the spill, while reducing the environmental impact
At the same time, the oil spill response plan provided for oil confinement and removal operations at the water's surface using ships, booms and pumps
The areas with the highest concentration of oil at the surface were also treated with dispersants, which are sprayed onto the oil slick with precision to speed up the natural degradation process
Throughout the operations, physical and chemical analyses were regularly carried out to ensure the safety of participating staff
Lula was a success, enabling Total to improve its offshore spill response capabilities and share its findings with the rest of the oil industry
Enhancing safety: a strategy of continuous improvement
To ensure safety every day, our first focus is to create a culture of high standards. This means working in accordance with specific rules and technical standards. To establish them, we have increased the number of working groups with our peers to exchange best practices and know-how. This safety collaboration was particularly active in 2010 after the Macondo blowout in the Gulf of Mexico, which led the entire industry to review its procedures.
We can also limit risks by performing inspections. Our installations undergo safety inspections throughout their entire life cycle. Monitoring involves verifying compliance with our operating procedures. Drills are regularly carried out to ensure that our maintenance work and inspections are effective. In addition, we continuously monitor the expertise of all of Total's players, in every region and sector, from production to processing to distribution.
Lastly, to continuously improve our performance, we need to create a safety culture. By distributing the rules to as many people as possible, raising awareness among staff about safety issues, increasing training and offering effective tools, we are investing in safety every day so that it becomes an integral part of our working habits.
The ARGOS Challenge: the search for tomorrow's oil and gas robot
Our exploration and production operations are often conducted in harsh and challenging conditions, including extreme cold, arid climates and isolated locations. Because autonomous robots able to operate at our onshore and offshore sites would strengthen the safety of our teams, Total has partnered with the French National Research Agency (ANR) to create the ARGOS Challenge with the objective of encouraging the invention of tomorrow's oil and gas robot.