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Vol. 12, No. 3 Week of January 21, 2007
Providing coverage of Alaska and northern Canada's oil and gas industry

KUPARUK ANNIVERSARY: Kuparuk safety continues to improve

Paul Dubuisson, ConocoPhillips Alaska’s North Slope operations manager, says safety is part of the culture at Kuparuk.

“An example is what we call intervention,” he said, and it’s something you see pretty frequently.

Someone notices something that “isn’t quite right and they take it on as their personal responsibility to intervene and see if there’s some better way to do things.” It may be “a contractor stopping a company employee or a company employee stopping a contractor employee” or workers from entirely different work groups. “It starts with the motto ‘nothing is so urgent or important that we can’t take the time to do it safely,’” he said.

The work place is the safer for it.

“2005 was the seventh consecutive best year ever for us on our safety performance” at Kuparuk, Dubuisson said.

And it’s not just the number of incidents: “We know that the severity of incidents has decreased quite a bit over the years,” he said.

The logo has been “road to zero, with a six in the middle of it (in 2004) and … a seven last year.

“I know the folks up there are proud of that — and they should be, because it takes a lot of effort,” Dubuisson said.

Workforce engaged in safety

Van Lineberger, ConocoPhillips’ Greater Kuparuk operations manager, said the company is “hoping for continuous improvement from a safety performance standpoint. We have a very engaged workforce trying to eliminate workplace injuries at Kuparuk.

“That’s what makes me most proud,” he said, “… that spirit and resulting effort that strives to send everyone home safely.”

It’s particularly remarkable in 2006, Lineberger said, because “this has been a year in which we’ve seen a tremendous, tremendous strain on our resources,” driven by high oil prices and other activity on the North Slope. That has brought a lot of new people into the industry, and yet safety performance, he said, continues to be good.

One thing that guests frequently comment on is how clean it is at the field, Dubuisson said. “They’ve accused me … of going through facilities and cleaning them beforehand.” He says he’s gotten that comment about both inside and outside, but inside the facilities is where he most often gets that comment.

Not so: it’s the norm, he says.

—Kristen Nelson



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