Across our operating regions, Hess teams delivered outstanding safety results and continuous improvement in 2020 despite the significant safety challenges posed by the pandemic and a record Atlantic hurricane season.
Hess assets in the Gulf of Mexico achieved their best overall safety record in five years, despite the extraordinary challenges posed by seven hurricanes and the pandemic. Notably, there were zero severe or significant safety incidents in 2020 on the Stampede, Tubular Bells or Baldpate production hubs – including during the six evacuations and subsequent repopulating of the platforms. Additionally, Tubular Bells surpassed its combined safety observation cards/BSOP and leadership site visit target by 22%, and Baldpate achieved a 75% reduction in dropped object incidents year over year.
In the North Malay Basin, Hess achieved several notable safety milestones, with employees and contractors logging 3.2 million work hours without any lost time incidents (LTIs) across Operations, Drilling and Completions, Development Projects and Logistics since July 2019. In May 2020, the offshore production platform achieved three years with no LTIs, while in September the Tok Bali Supply Base achieved five years with no LTIs. Of particular note, the North Malay Basin team completed transportation, installation, hookup, commissioning and startup of a major new mercury removal facility without a single recordable injury.
The excellent safety performance at these assets was supported by a strong safety culture, reliance on established Hess standards and procedures for safe operation of the facility, and implementation of a robust control of work process.
The aim of Hess’ process safety program is to prevent the unplanned or uncontrolled loss of primary containment of any material, including materials that are nontoxic and nonflammable (e.g., steam, nitrogen, compressed air), that could result in an incident such as an injury, fire, explosion, toxic release or environmental impact.
We focus on understanding and identifying key points within process safety systems that could impact asset integrity and the safe and proper operation of equipment. In particular, we address:
- Design integrity: reducing risks in the design and construction of facilities
- Technical integrity: inspecting, testing and maintaining hardware and software barriers
- Operational integrity: working within operational design parameters
Our approach to process safety involves identifying, managing and mitigating risks across Hess operations. We do this by raising awareness of risks among our workforce, providing strong safety leadership and maintaining a commitment to continuously improving our process safety procedures, systems and standards.
Planning and Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic was a central focus of our occupational safety and emergency response efforts. As always, our first priority in responding to this crisis has been the safety of our workforce, their families and the communities where we live and operate.
Per our pandemic response plan, we activated our corporate Crisis Response Team, which is composed of an Incident Support Team (IST) and local Incident Management Teams (IMTs) at our assets and office locations in Europe, Asia and the U.S. The IST took charge of long term business continuity, developing and evolving COVID-19 safety and health protocols, remote working arrangements, corporate communications and regular leadership updates. This team was supported by asset level IMTs focused on supporting our operations and office locations, maintaining the health and safety of our workforce and conducting local stakeholder engagement. A Business Continuity Coordinator served as the conduit between the IMTs and the IST, facilitating resource requests and standardizing and streamlining communications.
To help keep our workforce safe, we implemented a range of health and safety measures and evolved those measures based on guidance from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other health authorities and with ongoing engagement with various governmental agencies, medical experts, industry peers and suppliers, external industry experts and local communities.
For field workers and others who have been unable to work remotely, we implemented testing protocols, hand hygiene requirements, face masks, social distancing, enhanced cleaning procedures and travel restrictions. To reduce the possibility of COVID-19 transmission among offshore and onshore field based workers, we extended work schedules at offshore platforms, reduced the number of personnel on worksites wherever feasible and instituted work team “pods” to minimize interactions among workers. We also postponed scheduled turnaround work at the Tioga Gas Plant, which was to be part of our capacity expansion at the site, to avoid the potential for COVID-19 transmission that could result from the amount of travel and number of people required to complete the work. For most of our office based staff, we focused on helping workers transition to remote work, providing information technology, mental health resources and occupational safety support.
In the second quarter of 2020, we began to develop site specific plans to facilitate getting our employees back to office based work. We used a risk based, phased approach to help ensure the continuing safety and health of our workers. This encompassed ongoing review of key criteria, including local COVID-19 case and transmission rates, strain on local health care resources, the availability of essential third party services such as first responders, and the number of our own workers unable to perform their work duties. While the majority of our office based workers continued to work remotely throughout 2020, we were able to restore access to some of our offices with these protocols in place for a limited number of people – primarily employees and contractors who perform tasks that are challenging to do remotely.
We continue to keep our workforce informed about updated guidance from government and health authorities, Hess’ actions, and available benefits and resources through internal channels such as emails, the company intranet site, virtual town hall meetings, internal social media posts and supervisor led small group virtual meetings.
For more on our workforce support efforts related to COVID-19, see page 37 of our 2020 Sustainability report; for community support efforts, see page 24 of that report.