Knowledge Management + Asset Integrity = A-OK

Back again after some stillness and the KM journey continues, this time in the world of Oil & Gas. It’s a serious, yet exciting area to be working in.

This post doesn’t focus on typical applications within Oil and Gas (past KMers from the original BP team already made massive inroads with knowledge intensive challenges in the areas of drilling, geography and geophysics for example.)

There is another Oil & Gas strategic imperative that KM could work its magic on – Asset Integrity.

Personal Vs Process Safety

Ignoring personal (or occupational) safety isn’t a good idea. Trips, slips and falls can all lead to injuries and fatalities. Far more serious though are process safety incidents that lead to multiple injuries and fatalities and therefore far dire consequences for employees, the public and the Oil & Gas industry. A recurring root cause has been identified as ageing assets. It’s a problem that’s gaining notoriety as a silent killer – usually the result of poor design, non-compliance to standards and procedures or corrosion. Chernobyl, Bhopal, Piper Alpha and Texas City are all tragic, highly damaging reminders of what can happen when Asset Integrity fails.

Photo by Flickr User Axel Drainville

KM’s Role

Can KM help reduce these sorry sagas? Yes. Peer assists could be used as a way of encouraging learning before a potential hazard – allowing asset integrity folk to share experiences and lessons learned with others that may need to conduct investigations in the future.

KM – working with technology and HSE can offer a quality controlled Asset Integrity knowledge base capable of capturing, sharing and reusing the most damaging Tier 1 incidents, with approvals put in at natural decision points that encourage adherence to them.

Let’s also not forget about collaboration. Communities of practice could be used to help identify subject matter expertise and single point of failure knowledge that when shared within a community is more likely to be reused.

Do any KMer’s or Oil and Gas practitioners have anything to add? I’d be interested to hear.


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