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Innovative security assessment during the facility design stage: protecting people, assets and the marine environment in the Gulf of Paria, Venezuela

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3 Author(s)
Rodriguez, F.D. ; ConocoPhillips Venezuela, Venezuela ; Betancourt, J. ; Perry, W.

This paper explains how ConocoPhillips Venezuela adapted existing methodology to respond Venezuelan and international security regulations by completing an innovative security vulnerability assessment (SVA) of planned offshore facilities and activities in the Gulf of Paria, northeastern Venezuela. Following the discovery of offshore oil resources in the Gulf of Paria, northeastern Venezuela in 1999, ConocoPhillips and its partners began planning operations that will include offshore platforms, an offshore processing facility, a floating storage offtake, as well as interconnecting pipelines. Supporting these operations there will be inter-modal ports and commercial vessel traffic, including Venezuelan and internationally-flagged vessels. The Gulf of Paria presents a unique geographical setting and a complex socio-cultural environment. It is remote, isolated, and harbors high levels of aquatic biodiversity that support significant fishing activities. As signatory to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Safety of Life at Sea, Venezuela - and the United States Marine Transportation and Security Act - are placing new security planning and preparedness requirements on oil and gas exploration and production facilities such as those proposed by ConocoPhillips. Qualifying facilities will need to have completed Security Vulnerability Assessments and considered security in their operations. However, there are currently no comprehensive SVA guidelines that companies can use to evaluate their onshore and/or offshore facilities. Furthermore, guidelines focus on security threats to existing facilities; and do not adequately address security concerns stemming from environmental and socio-economic complexities faced by many Companies worldwide. To assure successful and sustainable operations in this complex region, ConocoPhillips decided to evaluate, prioritize and mitigate for potential vulnerabilities and risks posed to their future facilities and operations based on the specific geographic, environmental and socio-cultural realities of the region. In late 2003 and early 2004, ConocoPhillips conducted an SVA meeting international and Venezuelan requirements, based on IMO and the U.S. Coast Guard standards. However, certain modifications to the methodology w- ere needed. Results of the assessment addressed a wide range of security threats (natural and man made, accidental and deliberate) and proposed recommendations for improvements that are being used to make changes in the final offshore infrastructure, operational and/or procedural design. The SVA completed by ConocoPhillips is consistent with the Company s sustainable development approach in the region. It represents a first step in the process of identifying, planning, reviewing and continuously improving system-wide and facility-specific security measures to protect people, assets and the marine environment in the Gulf of Paria.

Published in:

OCEANS, 2005. Proceedings of MTS/IEEE

Date of Conference:

2005