American Oil and Gas Reporter - September 2016 - 123

tively assessed. According to the report,
the Distal Frontier is hypothetical and
defined by the presence of the Frontier
Sandstone where it interfingers with the
Mancos Shale, as determined by examining well logs.
Geological Characteristics
The Mancos Shale in the Piceance
Basin is more than 4,000 feet thick throughout most of the basin, representing more
than 29 million years of deposition, and
the survey says it is the primary hydrocarbon source rock for the Mancos/Mowry
total petroleum system. The shale is dom-

inated by mud rocks with varying amounts
of terrigenous siliciclastic and biogenic
calcite deposited in an offshore marine
setting.
Tight gas in the younger, shallower
Mancos Shale intervals is produced primarily from vertical and directional wells
in which the reservoirs have been hydraulically fractured, USGS indicates.
The tight-gas production is reported as
commingled production with the overlying
Williams Fork formation. Tight gas and
continuous oil and gas in the older and
deeper Mancos Shale intervals are produced mostly from horizontal wells that

have been fractured, the survey says.
The Late Cretaceous Mancos Shale
was deposited within a foreland basin
setting during the initial development
and ultimate extension of the Cretaceous
Western Interior Seaway, the agency describes. At its maximum extent, the seaway spanned from the present-day Arctic
Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico, and from
central Utah to western Minnesota. The
basin's central part later segmented into
multiple Rocky Mountain basins, including the Piceance, during the Laramide
orogeny.
❒

Report Urges Offshore Safety Agency
WASHINGTON-Strengthening and
sustaining a strong safety culture for offshore oil and gas operations in the Gulf
of Mexico requires collective action
among industry and regulators, contends
Strengthening the Safety Culture of the
Offshore Oil and Gas Industry, a National
Academies of Sciences, Engineering and
Medicine report.
According to the National Academy
of Science subgroups, the 75 operators,
17 drilling contractors, and more than
1,000 contractors and subcontractors engaged in offshore drilling, production
and construction in the Gulf of Mexico
hold differing commitments to safety.
The report points out that because offshore
companies hold differing safety perspectives and economic interests, they don't
belong to a single industry association
that speaks with one voice on safety.
It says several challenges arise in setting
and implementing consistent goals for
safety practices and culture, including:
* A varied commitment among organization leaders to having a strong
safety culture;
* Variations in the types of organizations that work on a drilling site;
* Heterogeneity of practices such as
supervision and training; and
* Diversity of employees' safety attitudes and education backgrounds.
"Successful culture change is a longterm effort, entailing considerable uncertainties and investments," says Nancy Pippins, principal consultant at CEB-SHL
Talent Measurement Solutions and author
of Strengthening the Safety Culture. "It is
essential that industry and regulators go
beyond ideas and possibilities, and develop
concrete plans for creating a commitment
to a culture that establishes and maintains
a safe working environment."
The report urges the offshore industry
to implement a recommendation issued

by the National Commission on the BP
Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore
Drilling that called for an independent
organization dedicated to safety and environmental protection that had no advocacy role. The Center for Offshore Safety,
created by the American Petroleum Institute after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon
incident, could be made independent of
API to serve this purpose, the committee
suggests. It also recommends making
membership in the center a requirement
for all entities working in the offshore
oil and gas industry.
According to the report, the industry
as a whole should create additional guidance for establishing safety culture expectations and responsibilities among operators, contractors and subcontractors.
It adds that regulatory agencies-including
the Bureau of Safety & Environmental
Enforcement, U.S. Coast Guard, and
Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety
Administration-should participate and
help ensure consistency. Once the industry
has agreed on steps to achieve safety and
environmental goals, the report says all
involved organizations should be responsible for developing their own strategies
for executing this overall plan.
Operators and contractors should assess
their safety cultures regularly using multiple methods, the report advises. When
feasible, organizations should seek to acquire internal assessment expertise in
order to manage the process, interpret
results, and increase their ownership and
accountability for results, it says.
Accident Precursors
A commonly noted problem in studying
offshore oil and gas industry accidents is
the lack of complete and accurate data
related to accidents and near misses, the
report says. It recommends regulators
and operators define the factors necessary

for understanding accident precursors,
determine what data need to be submitted
to which regulatory agencies, regularly
collect and analyze data, and share findings
across the industry.
Because accident, incident and inspection data all are needed to identify
and understand safety risks and corrective
actions, the report recommends that regulators make the data publically available
in a timely way, taking into consideration
applicable confidentiality requirements.
In 2013, federal offshore operations
in the Gulf of Mexico accounted for 17
percent of total U.S. crude production,
the report notes. According to the U.S.
Energy Information Administration, that
portion is expected to increase to 21 percent in 2017, despite the downturn in
commodity prices. The report points out
the industry's move from shallow-water
operations into waters as deep as 10,000
feet has increased the dangers to a workforce already engaged in an intrinsically
hazardous occupation.
The National Academies of Sciences,
Engineering and Medicine are private
nonprofit institutions that operate under
charter to the National Academy of Sciences, providing independent, objective
analysis and advice.
Copies of the report are available
through the National Academies Press
website at www.nap.edu, or by calling
202-334-3313.
❒

Coming In October
Senior Hess Corp. geophysical,
geological and reservoir engineering
experts detail the technologies used
to unravel subsurface complexities at
the Stampede Field, one of the deepest reservoirs fields ever developed in
the Gulf of Mexico.
SEPTEMBER 2016 123


http://www.nap.edu

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Oil and Gas Reporter - September 2016

Contents
American Oil and Gas Reporter - September 2016 - Cover1
American Oil and Gas Reporter - September 2016 - Cover2
American Oil and Gas Reporter - September 2016 - Contents
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American Oil and Gas Reporter - September 2016 - Cover3
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