How Chevron Canada is Driving Operational Excellence to the Frontline

By: Troy Geertsen, Vice President, Health, Environment, Safety & Regulatory at Chevron Canada

Troy, tell us about your professional background leading up to and including your current role at Chevron Canada?

I started my career in the late 1980s on the regulatory side of the upstream energy industry with the then-called Energy Resources Conservation Board in Alberta. I worked as a field inspector where my role included inspection of environmental events, facilities, pipelines, drilling and service rigs and responding to public complaints. I was very fortunate to get a well-rounded experience in the upstream early in my career. I was always interested in both the regulatory and the operations side of the upstream industry, so I transitioned to medium and small exploration and production organizations supporting compliance, safety and environment performance. I learned a lot in these positions, as operational excellence was being talked about at higher levels within the industry, but the culture was not always obvious in the field. It was my job to help communicate the OE message to frontline workers and supervisors and build the OE culture. I supported the drive to understand the risks associated with our business and worked to ensure we had safeguards in place. Unfortunately, during this time we sustained some very serious incidents, including a fatality, and, in some cases, repeated this level of performance. It got me thinking: although we were a relatively mature industry, we are still experiencing serious injuries and fatalities and sometimes accepting this performance – there had to be more that we could do. At the time, we struggled with becoming learning organizations. Eventually I was asked to support an earlyphase LNG project on Canada’s east coast. At this point in my career, it was exciting to work on a major capital project that, if successful, may result in new energy streams in Canada. Then I transitioned to Chevron supporting major capital projects in the oil sands, deep water Gulf of Mexico, Nigeria and a new country entry into Liberia. This included supporting OE for large production platforms, including engineering/design and construction to hook-up and commissioning. We also supported environmental assessments, Metocean studies and offshore drilling work. We were responsible for ensuring required risk management and environmental processes were in place and executed and that our diverse workforces were supported in fabrication yards and offshore. Over three years ago, I was asked to return to Canada in the role of Vice president, Health, Environment, Safety and Regulatory for our Canadian operations. Overall, my team is responsible for stewarding Operational Excellence and driving to world class OE performance.

How does Chevron define Operational Excellence?

At Chevron, there are several focus areas that fall into our definition of operational excellence including workforce safety, environment, process safety,efficiency, security and stakeholders. The efficiency piece is interesting, and we are starting to explore what that really means from a Canadian perspective. As we start exploring technology and implementing digital solutions within our organization, we begin to open the door to becoming more efficient.[...]

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