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Upstream Energy Safety Certificate


Photo courtesy of E. Kurt Albaugh


This course will provide a level-setting exposure to the upstream energy industry’s health, safety and environment (HSE) practices, regulations, main principles, and vocabulary. The curriculum will cover the upstream energy value chain and different levels of activities considering the interest of the community in any region of the world, environmental footprint and their impact. Students will learn general terms and conditions of working in the industry; business practices, organization methods and expertise in preventing and analyzing industrial accidents that may occur due to lack of education and training; and how to promote occupational safety and health at different levels of the business process. Legal, regulatory and governmental policies that enforce a culture of safety in all areas of the energy business will be explained at the international, national and enterprise level.


Overview of the Petroleum Value Chain

The Overview class is intended to provide a framework and scope for the first four HSE SAFE modules.  Its intent is to introduce students to the upstream, midstream, and downstream sectors, and to provide students with an overview of the entire petroleum industry, including exploration, drilling, production, transportation, marketing, and refining. The scope of the SAFE courses is upstream only. Students will use this lecture as a basis for creating activities in the subsequent modules, as well as the terms, phrases, and acronyms associated with the upstream petroleum value chain in the workforce.  Finally, it will serve as a refresher for the equipment used throughout the upstream value chain.

HSE Culture and Leadership

The HSE Culture and Leadership class will provide students with the knowledge that achieving a comprehensive understanding of HSE practices requires examining the theories of human behavior, work motivation and leadership. Students will be introduced to best practices, established industry expectations and regulatory requirements for HSE in the life cycle of the project, as well as in the culture of companies.  While many companies have their own guiding principles, they are all rooted in managing the risks and causes of incidents that impact all stakeholders, where stakeholders are defined as local and global communities, the workforce, the environment, non-operators/partners and shareholders.

HSE Management System

This class is intended to lay groundwork for students to understand the program development required for an HSE management system.  Corporate systems are developed to assure compliance with applicable company policy and with government laws and regulations.  Laws and regulations vary from region to region.  Company policies and HSE management systems must ensure that employees and contractors comprehend and comply with requirements, such as safety and environmental policy, implementation and operation, verification and corrective action, and continuous improvement. Assessments of comprehension and compliance are addressed via self-audits, independent corporate audits, and external parties.  HSE management systems and audit teams ensure that the effectiveness of operations is consistent with these processes.

Students will gain knowledge of the scope of an HSE management system—the   components of which include HAZARDS analysis operation procedures, safe work practices, quality and mechanical integrity of systems, emergency response and control, and records and documentation. 

HSE Global Regulations

In addition to HSE management core practices and principles, the students will gain knowledge from examples and resources related to legal and regulatory policies, requirements, and HSE management systems that have been implemented by companies around the globe. Students will be provided with information on the rulemaking process used to develop HSE standards, practices and corporate policy.

Introduction to Risk Assessment and Risk Mitigation Tools

While corporations have been addressing risk for some time, only in the last fifty years has risk been assessed by both quantitative and qualitative methods. Some methods used are inherent to evaluating risk in the workplace, while others consider the equipment and the engineering system and/or tie both societal and operational risk.  This lecture will introduce the students to oil and gas major incidents and tools and methods, such as Incident Investigation, Root Cause Analysis, Failure Modes Effect and Criticality Analysis.

Triple Bottom Line

Sustainability has many definitions.  The oil and gas industry recognizes and uses the concept of sustainability as defined by the Dow Jones Sustainability Index.  This portion of the course will adopt the same principals in that sustainability is a business approach that creates long-term shareholder value by embracing opportunities and managing risks deriving from economic, environmental and social developments. Historically, sustainability gets high visibility during strife and crisis.  These lectures will provide current tools and trends in the areas of corporate sustainability and explore how HSE and sustainability are reported in various financial indices, as well as a company’s annual report.