What Exploration & Production companies will get from the new ISO quality standard for the oil and gas sector
Published: June 2020
ISO’s revised sector-specific quality management standard was written for and with the oil and gas industry. This blog post looks at what the standard has to offer exploration and production companies.
In May we published BS EN ISO 29001:2020 Petroleum, petrochemical and natural gas industries — Sector-specific quality management systems — Requirements for product and service supply organizations. This is a quality management standard for the oil and gas industry, but what can it do for E&P companies?
Well, for a start, they can have every confidence that the document is relevant to them and their operations. It was written in collaboration with the International Association of Oil & Gas Producers and aligns with IOGP’s Joint Industry Programme 33. IOGP JIP 33 aims to standardize the sector’s approach to supply chain specifications. It will reduce duplication and provide standardized risk-based quality assurance processes.
ISO 29001 is also based on BS EN ISO 9001:2015 – the latest in ISO’s globally best-selling series of international quality management standards. Indeed ISO 9001 forms the core of ISO 29001 and is reproduced in full in the standard. ISO 29001 therefore fully reflects the highly successful changes in the 2015 version of ISO 9001.
Guidance and tools
BS EN ISO 29001 itself sets out requirements, guidance and tools to help organizations implement quality management processes, the aim of which is to reduce operating risk and drive improvement throughout a business and its supply chain.
As noted, BS EN ISO 29001 also follows the high-level structure of ISO 9001. This means that it’s compatible with other modern ISO management systems standards. Also that it asks organizations to place a far greater emphasis on the identification and management of the risks associated with their activities, processes and outputs. This is highly relevant to E&P companies due to the high level of risk that’s associated with their operations.
It means that the standard is asking you to focus your limited resources not on documentation for documentation’s sake, but instead in the places where you perceive that you might have the greatest cause for concern. Once you focus on the most important areas of risk – incidentally, the standard defines risk as “the effect of uncertainty” – that in turn helps you tackle those risks. Also remember that risks in themselves could have a positive or negative effect, and could therefore also provide opportunity.
The standard also includes requirements and guidance that are supplementary to ISO 9001:2015 and that have been developed to manage supply chain risks and opportunities specifically associated with the petroleum, petrochemical and natural gas industries. It also provides a framework for aligning requirements with other complementary standards used within the industry.
For E&P companies, BS EN ISO 29001 will drive operational improvements through the business and its supply chain, because it creates greater clarity and understanding of what it is that everyone is doing. It brings improved communication, only one result of which is better decision making.
The standard also drives operational efficiencies that reduce waste, both in terms of materials and time. And, as alluded to, the standard drives each organization to assess the risks and opportunities associated with its context and objectives, enabling you to take more calculated and informed risks and also to identify where there are opportunities that are worth pursuing.
Meanwhile the sector requirements and guidance incorporates sector best practice and sector risk management processes. They reflect the requirements and guidance found in other sectoral quality, technical and conformity assessment standards and specifications. They will also standardize the sector’s approach to implementing quality and verification requirements; will manage supply chain risks and opportunities and provide clarity on sector documented information requirements. E&P companies have a lot to gain from adopting BS EN ISO 29001:2020