Why Competency Assurance for Oil and Gas?

Andy Andrews

Oil and Gas regulators are putting increasingly more pressure on organisations in the sector to prove that their people are competent. Why so much emphasis on competency assurance for the Oil and Gas sector? Isn’t competency assurance and competency management primarily the reserve of corporates who are intent on recruiting, retaining and supporting other Talent Management initiatives?

In the Oil and Gas sector competency management is about much more than the individual’s personal development. Competence is a major component to ensuring reduced environmental risks and for assuring the safety of others… lives are at stake.

Examination of the causes of offshore disasters has led regulators to conclude that it’s not just about equipment failure, it is people’s ability to manage, operate and maintain equipment as well as their ability to behave in the right way at the right time that can make the difference between a major event occurring or not.

There are many definitions for the term ‘competency’ but common to most of them is that ‘ability’ is one of the key components along with knowledge and skills that encapsulate what a competency is. For this reason, Oil and Gas regulators are driving the need for organisations to prove that their people are competent.

When we speak of competencies for Oil and Gas, many may immediately think of technical competencies, for instance competencies such as those for Well Design and Construction, Well Completions, Subsea Engineering, Engineering Operations and Maintenance, however that does not provide a complete picture. Experienced engineers recognise that behaviours associated with competencies such as Accountability, Problem Solving, Decision-making, Attention to Detail, Safety Leadership and their relationship to Health and Safety simply cannot be ignored.

Hence there is an imperative for those in the Oil and Gas sector to identify, assess and capture employee competencies, determine competency gaps and address them and this is even more so in the case of safety-related competencies. Note that the imperative is not only to assure the competence of employees but also to prove it.

The very ability to provide evidence of competence serves as the organisation’s license to operate.

What is involved in putting together a robust yet usable competency assurance and management system? There is some great work on competency standards that has been done by organisations serving the Oil and Gas industry that is publicly available.

At Lexonis, we have researched the competency standards defined by organisations such as Oil and Gas UKCogentNOPSEMAAPPEA and identified the characteristics that define a well-constructed competency assurance and competency management system for Oil and Gas. In future blog posts we will consider what some of these characteristics are and how they can be practically applied.

Visit the Lexonis site for more details on our Oil and Gas competency solutions.

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