AMCHAM T&T's Annual H.S.S.E Conference 2017
Remarks by Nigel Darlow, CEO Atlantic for Opening Ceremony
November 10, 2017
Ladies and gentlemen,
Good morning to all and a particular good morning and welcome to the Honourable Minister, Paula Gopee Scoon. Paula of course knows Atlantic very well especially with her connections to our home base in Point Fortin. We thank her for her collaboration and support to Atlantic over the years and are delighted she could join us here this morning.
Atlantic is pleased once again to be the title sponsor for the 25th anniversary edition of the AMCHAM HSSE Conference.
Atlantic congratulates the Chamber on this significant milestone and we take this opportunity to applaud its many achievements stretching over a quarter of a century.
This event is very much established as the leading HSSE Conference in the Trinidad & Tobago calendar. It plays a very important role in promoting and reinforcing best practices in health, safety, security and the environment not only locally but also across the Caribbean Region.
Recognition of the caliber and importance of this conference is clearly evidenced by the many sponsors and attendees here today. So on behalf of the other sponsors of this event, we wish AMCHAM continued success in the future.
The theme for this year’s Conference is “People, Systems, Sustainability”. This very much resonates with Atlantic’s Core Values – what we call our SPiRIT values – of Safety, Performance, Integrity, Respect and Teamwork – and with People being the centre of everything that we do.
I am certain that 2017 has presented challenges to many businesses and Atlantic is no exception. This has been a year which has again seen very significant gas supply shortages to our plant – with rates down at around 70% utilization.
This has had a significant impact on the business – not only the considerable lost revenue opportunity, but the operational challenges of having to continually adjust to gas supply fluctuations. The plant is not on steady operation, making things more complicated and putting additional strain on the plant & equipment and the people operating and maintaining it. Consequently, this has had an adverse impact on our plant reliability, which is lower than normal.
This year Atlantic has also seen a drop in our safety performance. Atlantic has delivered very strong safety performance sustained over many years. Up until August this year we achieved over 37 million man hours – stretching back almost 10 years – without a Lost Time Injury. This achievement has been due to our determination to build and embed a strong Safety Culture, and implement best practices in Safety.
One of the biggest contributors to our safety performance is our commitment to Safety Leadership at all levels in the organisation. There is high visibility of the company’s leadership and management in Safety Walkdowns, Safety Audits and regular Safety forums. Atlantic continues to perform very well in HSSE during our major shutdowns where we have implemented many best practice initiatives such as our Safety Village with Contractors; our Management Safety Walk-downs every 12 hours; our Fatigue Risk Management Policy, and also our practice of regular Safety Stand-Downs. This all helps to ensure Safety is our number one priority.
On the process safety side Atlantic had not experienced a “greater consequence” process safety event for a long time. In addition Atlantic was ranked the leading company in Trinidad and Tobago for Process Safety & Asset Integrity Management in last year’s National Audit conducted by globally renowned experts DNV on behalf of the Government. In fact, DNV commented that Atlantic’s Process Safety Management was amongst the best they had seen globally. This together with our annual Process Safety Week (which promotes awareness of process safety risks) and our strong leading and lagging safety indicators suggested that Atlantic was in a good place with Safety.
However, in the last few months Atlantic has had two process safety events. Back in August we had a gas release on Train 3 due to a failure of a control valve. Fortunately, nobody was hurt in the incident – but things could have turned out very differently. The train was shutdown for 11 days whilst repairs were undertaken and safety checks carried out. Then a month afterwards Atlantic had a fire on one of our nine power generation units. Again, nobody was injured but it did cause damage to the unit.
These two incidents were quite difficult for us to come to terms with. Atlantic had a strong track record and all safety indicators appeared very positive. Yet two incidents happened in quick succession. We have spent a lot of time investigating them and putting in place corrective actions to ensure there can be no repeat. Beyond the immediate investigation we have been standing back and asking ourselves some more fundamental questions about how we operate and maintain the plant – and are there changes we need to make?
So we are having a re-look at things including an external review with our Shareholders – to determine what changes are required. We need to ensure we reinforce and sustain all the good safety processes and systems that exist at Atlantic but also that we identify and correct weaknesses in those processes and systems. So the lesson is to always be wary – and have that “chronic unease” that something could go wrong at any time. Never get complacent.
As I said, 2017 has proven to be a challenging year – but it is also one where Atlantic has delivered some significant value to our stakeholders, and we have moved forward our HSSE agenda.
For instance, Atlantic delivered the Trinidad Region Onshore Compression Project, called TROC, which involved installing large new inlet compression facilities at Atlantic. The TROC project was executed on behalf of one of our shareholders, BP. Its delivery was exemplary – on schedule, below budget, but most importantly of all, with an outstanding safety performance. TROC became operational in April this year and provides an important source of increased gas supply.
Another of our initiatives in 2017 involved Atlantic partnering with a local asphalt production company, to recycle the molecular sieve used in our liquefaction process. The asphalt company thermally oxidizes the molsieves at high temperatures then uses it as a feeder for road paving. This is a significant environmental benefit, as it reduces the need for sand from local quarries. This ground-breaking initiative continues to provide cost savings to Atlantic, but more importantly helps to reduce the risk in handling, transporting and storing used molecular sieves. This project was the overall champion in our annual Atlantic CEO Awards.
I mentioned earlier the significant gas supply shortages impacting the country and in particular Atlantic. We expect the situation to become much improved in the short to medium term, when supply from Juniper increases its flows into the system and other sources come online.
Atlantic’s four train facility remains globally competitive. As I have often stressed, our trains were built at a fraction of the cost of new LNG facilities coming on stream – including those in the US and Australia. This gives Trinidad & Tobago a strong competitive advantage against many LNG sources and helps Atlantic to maintain its status as one of the lowest cost producers of LNG globally.
Additionally, Atlantic’s LNG volumes are sold under long-term contracts with significant destination flexibility. This allows Atlantic’s LNG volumes to continue to compete favourably in global markets against other LNG supply sources, even in the current global over - supply of LNG.
So, given the improving gas supply outlook and Atlantic’s sustained competitive position, the future for Atlantic is a very positive one. But it is extremely important that we continue to deliver a safe and a reliable operation.
This being an HSSE Conference, I want to take a moment to pay tribute to someone who had contributed significantly to the field of HSSE, by both his passion and expertise, and that is Atlantic’s late Vice President of HSSE, Henley Harewood, who sadly passed away suddenly in April this year. Many of you here today will have known Henley – larger than life and very passionate about what really mattered to him: making sure that we all return home safe to our families at the end of each day.
Henley took safety to a different level – he set the bar at new heights. He helped change the safety culture and leadership not just in Atlantic, but amongst our Service Providers and across Trinidad. What Henley delivered did not just make Atlantic a safer working environment but Trinidad and Tobago a safer working environment. Henley should be remembered as one of the great safety leaders. He was very good at what he did, and we all owe him much thanks.
In honour of this great man’s achievements, Atlantic in partnership with the University of the West Indies has established the annual Henley Harewood scholarship in Occupational and Environmental Health and Safety. The first recipient was recently announced, and we look forward to more scholars engaging with this very important area of research.
Some of the challenges that we face in Trinidad and Tobago in the area of occupational and environmental health and safety will require innovative, cost-effective solutions. Whether it is the issue of aging infrastructure and its impact on asset integrity, or enhancing HSSE competence among the workforce, fresh perspectives are needed, as well as practicable, robust solutions that are sustainable in the global marketplace.
We look forward to robust discussion over these two days and to the sharing of best practices. We encourage everyone to continue to work together to make our companies and our country safer. The theme of this year’s Conference highlights how important it is for us to keep our focus on people. This focus should drive everything that we do. When we keep people and their communities safe, helping to meet their needs in ways that are mutually beneficial and also sustainable, then everybody benefits.
So again, on behalf of the sponsors, I thank AMCHAM for arranging this fantastic opportunity, and I know we will all benefit from the exchange of ideas and the strengthening of partnerships. Ladies and gentlemen, thank you.
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