Energy Chamber to enhance process safety, asset integrity

Energy Chamber chairman Jerome Dookie -
Energy Chamber chairman Jerome Dookie -

THE Energy Chamber of Trinidad and Tobago is repositioning itself to intensify efforts aimed at strengthening process safety measures.

With a focused approach, it advocates for enhanced asset integrity measures within Trinidad and Tobago’s energy sector, aligning its initiatives with the industry's evolving needs and challenges.

"The Energy Chamber has not taken much of an active role in the issue of process safety or asset integrity. Process safety is not merely a requirement or a checkbox to be marked; it is the bedrock upon which our operations stand. The consequences of non-compliance with safety standards are high and can potentially be catastrophic.”

Jerome Dookie, chairman of the Energy Chamber of TT, made the statement on Wednesday in his opening remarks at the virtual inaugural Process Safety Forum.

Highlighting the chamber's commitment to process safety and its increased emphasis on improving safety measures and advocating for improvements in TT's energy sector, the forum allowed stakeholders to reflect on recent incidents and challenges, such as pipeline failures and concerns about asset maintenance practices.

This initiative, both industry-driven and regulatory-backed, seeks to foster a culture of safety within the energy sector.

Dookie emphasised the importance of maintaining high process-safety standards in the energy industry, citing its changing landscape, ageing infrastructure and increasing operational complexity.

“As our infrastructure ages and our operations become more complex, the margin for error diminishes exponentially. It is imperative that we maintain the highest standards of process safety to safeguard against potential hazards and mitigate risks effectively.”

In 2023, 20 people were evacuated and relocated from four Fyzabad households after a rupture of a 30-year-old Heritage 16-inch trunk oil pipeline, which was part of an 80,000-km cross-island network.

While the Energy Chamber has historically prioritised personnel and contractor safety, Dookie noted a shift in focus towards process safety and asset integrity, aiming to address emerging challenges and align with evolving industry needs.

Reflecting on the significance of the energy industry's historical context in TT, Dookie emphasised the importance of maintaining mature assets safely amidst the ongoing energy transition.

Despite what he said was the industry's commendable history in process safety, he cautioned against complacency, advocating for continuous improvement and innovation.

“We cannot be complacent when it comes to safety. This is especially the case with process safety, where an incident can have a catastrophic impact and affect many employees, fence line communities and the environment.”

Dookie highlighted the potential of incorporating technology and innovation into safety practices in revolutionising process safety management.

“In today's rapidly evolving technological landscape, we find ourselves at a pivotal juncture where traditional approaches to process safety must be augmented by new technologies and innovations. Technology can be used to remove people from potentially dangerous situations. Things like drones, digital twinning and satellite monitoring are already being used in the industry to ensure that safe operations can be done remotely. AI has also been used in several areas to work with data at a rapid pace to ensure better decision making when it comes to risk assessment and management.”

For instance, NGC employs CoSMIC-EYE technology to monitor its 1,000-km pipeline which spans from offshore to onshore and traverses various terrains.

Described by the 2020 edition of GASCO News as “both a valuable asset and a significant liability due to its vast geographical spread,” using radar and optical satellites to monitor energy corridors for potential grid threats ensures its security.

“Integrity issues could arise leading to release incidents, service disruption or even endanger communities,” the report said. “Management of this network, a function of the operations group, is therefore crucial from both a safety and value-preservation perspective.”

Dookie concluded by calling for collective action and collaboration in the industry to prioritise safety as a shared imperative.


"Energy Chamber to enhance process safety, asset integrity"

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