Awards highlight environment and safety excellence

The Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association has recognised oil and gas companies for excellence and outstanding leadership in environmental and safety practices.

APPEA’s Environment and Safety Excellence Awards showcase safety performance and environmental values across the Australian oil and gas industry by applauding outstanding performance in one of the industry’s most important fields of endeavour.

Winners for the 2019 calendar year were announced at a ceremony in Perth across four categories: the Environment Project Award, Safety Project Award, Environment Company Award and Safety Company Award.

Since 2001, APPEA’s Excellence Awards have showcased outstanding performance in improving environmental and safety outcomes.

APPEA Chief Executive Andrew McConville congratulated the winners – and all entrants – for their dedication to the highest environment, health and safety (EHS) standards.

“Australia’s oil and gas industry is committed to continuous improvement and the Awards provide an opportunity to recognise outstanding achievements in safety and environmental performance for individual projects and companies across our broad membership base,” Mr McConville said.

“It’s exciting to see innovative, industry-leading companies adopting new management approaches and technologies for challenges the industry faces, including for example emissions reduction. APPEA members are also leading the way in developing better ways to manage risk, helping to raise the bar for all of us.

“I congratulate the winners and thank all those who submitted entries for their absolute commitment to upholding the highest environment and safety standards.”

2019 APPEA Environment and Safety Excellence Award winners:

Environment Project Excellence Award

Winner: Santos – ‘Varanus Island Flare Management’

Varanus Island is not only home to one of Western Australia’s major domestic gas production hubs; it is also a ‘C Class’ Nature Reserve, with a healthy population of breeding seabirds (Wedge-tailed Shearwater).

In 2018, to reduce the number and severity of interactions between the facility’s flare and the seabirds, Santos initiated a detailed observational study into fledgling behaviours, with the assistance of a seabird ecologist.

Over three consecutive years, the measures implemented as part of the observational studies have ultimately halved the number of interactions and improved the outcome of these interactions when they occur. 2019 represented the mid-point for the three-year study.

Santos’ operations on Varanus Island continue to demonstrate that conservation efforts and oil and gas activities can harmoniously coexist.

Safety Project Excellence Award

Winner: Worley – ‘CAROL: Robotic catalyst and adsorbent removal project’

Catalyst handling and adsorbent removal has been performed in much the same way for the past 75 years in the oil and gas, petrochemical, refinery, and mining industries.

In 2015, Worley’s Innovation Council pitched an idea to develop a robot which reduces worker exposure hours and increases efficiency. Catalyst Removal Amphirol – or CAROL – eliminates the need for human entry into confined spaces or the use of water flooding.

CAROL was invented in Australia and is the world’s first catalyst removal robot, and is a potential game-changer for the automation of hazardous material handling. It has been successfully deployed at both Chevron’s Gorgon LNG plant and Santos’ Gladstone LNG plant.

Environment Company Excellence Award

Winner: Woodside Energy Ltd – ‘Environmental excellence’

Woodside continues to demonstrate consistently strong and accountable environmental performance across the petroleum development lifecycle.

The main features of Woodside’s environmental management include:

  • tracking annual targets against identified United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, such as energy availability, innovation, climate action, and improving knowledge of the marine environment
  • supporting the publishing of credible peer reviewed science
  • forging and maintaining partnerships with local and international research organisations, and
  • delivering energy efficiency improvement against baseline levels, across its asset portfolio.

Safety Company Excellence Award

Winner: ExxonMobil Australia – ‘Innovating on the fundamentals’

ExxonMobil Australia’s submission demonstrated a strong commitment to safety culture, leadership, and workforce consultation.

Following a major review of its safety processes and systems, Exxon achieved their best safety performance in five years, with sustained improvement in process safety throughout 2019.

This strong performance was underpinned by a back-to-basics approach with a key focus to enhance workforce process safety literacy to ensure frontline teams are kept safe. The key elements of Exxon’s enhancing process safety framework are scenario management, human performance and learning from experience.

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