What mid and downstream organizations will gain from the new ISO quality standard for the oil and gas sector
Published: June 2020
In May we published ISO’s revised sector-specific quality management standard for the oil and gas industry. This blog post looks at what this standard can do to help post-production companies in the sector.
BS EN ISO 29001:2020 Petroleum, petrochemical and natural gas industries — Sector-specific quality management systems — Requirements for product and service supply organizations is the revised quality management standard for the oil and gas industry. It was written for the sector, and with a considerable amount of sectoral input – especially from the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers – which has ensured that the standard aligns with the IOGP’s Joint Industry Programme 33. As noted, it is a revision, so what’s new and what can the standard do for companies in refining, transportation and marketing?
Of course, there’s been an international quality management requirements document in this sector for some time. Its first incarnation appeared in 2003 as PD/ISO TS 29001:2003 – PD for Published Document, and TS for Technical Specification. This standard was inspired by ISO 9001:2000 – so echoed that standard’s emphasis on process improvement, defect prevention and the reduction of variation and waste. This was perfectly sensible because in the oil and gas sector, as we know, anytime a product or service fails the ramifications can be extraordinarily severe for all concerned.
However, in due course, the 2003 document was updated and replaced by a 2007 version that was in turn replaced in 2011 by DD CEN ISO/TS 29001:2011. This was a Draft for Development – in other words a provisional document – published by CEN and ISO.
This came up for review in 2014, but that was too early for the revision to reflect and incorporate the big changes that were in the works for BS EN ISO 9001:2015. Efforts to revise the document were therefore put on hold and then picked up again in earnest in 2018. This work has produced the 2020 version. Note that BS EN ISO 29001:2020 is now a full international standard.
Why was ISO 9001:2015 worth waiting for? Because it introduced a step change to the way quality management systems are implemented, and that change is reflected in BS EN ISO 29001. It can be summarized as a change of emphasis. The standard now asks organizations to place far greater effort on identifying and then managing the risks associated with their activities and processes, and the products and services that result.
BS EN ISO 29001 acts as a supplement to ISO 9001:2015 because it includes additional requirements and guidance that has been developed to manage the supply chain risks and opportunities associated with the petroleum, petrochemical and natural gas industries. These also provide a framework for aligning requirements with complementary standards employed within the industries.
For organizations working in refining, transportation and marketing, the standard will deliver clear benefits. For one thing, it improves customer service, satisfaction and therefore confidence that they’re going to get a consistently high level of product or service quality.
As such the standard also acts to build your organization’s reputation, which translates into competitive advantage. Certification to the standard also acts as a market differentiator, which also has the strong potential to open up new markets because the quality of what you deliver will be understood.
The standard also refines organizational processes and procedures to make them more efficient and to raise productivity. This also has the effect of stripping out duplication and waste and will reduce some costs. Finally, the standard makes organizations more resilient and sustainable. All good reasons why – in the current turbulent climate – mid- and downstream oil and gas companies should take a long, hard look at the benefits of adopting BS EN ISO 29001:2020