Process safety

Why is this important?

Process Safety Management is the proactive identification, analysis, evaluation and safeguarding of releases of hazardous substances and process accidents that could occur because of failures in process technology, procedures or equipment. It applies to the management of hazards associated with the chemical and physical properties of the substances handled in our oil, gas and energy activities.

Process safety incidents are the high consequence – low frequency events that mean management and staff often lack firsthand experience or knowledge of the causes and nature of such incidents. Therefore, it is important to monitor the risks of such events on a company level, apply sufficient competent resources to manage those risks and share learning from incidents or near misses, which might help to prevent similar incidents Group wide.

Our commitment

Our commitment is to keep a leading position for our Process Safety Event Rate, around 0.18. We strive for the continuous improvement of our safety performance, reflected in the continuous knowledge improvement and experience sharing in the process safety domain, we maintain our external collaboration with high-profile organizations by extending the membership in EPSC (European Process Safety Center).


OMV Petrom is a full rights member of the EPSC, an industry-funded network which exists to provide an independent forum for the leadership and support of process safety within Europe. OMV Petrom is part of Technical Steering Committee of EPSC and a series of working groups including PS Fundamentals, Digitalization, Semi-quantitative Risk Evaluation Methods and Energy Transition.


Moreover, OMV Petrom is part of the CCPS Beacon (Center of Chemical Process Safety) project. Process Safety Beacon sponsored and produced by CCPS is a resource aimed at delivering process safety messages to plant operators and other manufacturing personnel. The monthly one-page newsletter covers the breadth of process safety topics, and it is delivered into company as lessons learnt from PS experience from other companies and industries.


Process Safety Beacon is distributed across OMV Petrom, for information and debate, providing an important mean of the worldwide communication on process safety topics aimed to deliver process safety messages and present process safety accidents and describe the lessons learned and the practical means to prevent reoccurrences.

We measure

Leading and lagging indicators provide useful information for improving process safety and reducing risks of major hazards by identifying trends and underlying causes and taking action to prevent reoccurrence. As part of OMV Group, we have adapted the four-tier framework of process safety KPIs in alignment with American Petroleum Institute (API), (recommended Practice 754) and IOGP Report 456.

As a framework for measuring activity, status or performance, process safety indicators are classified into four tiers of leading and lagging indicators. Tiers 1 and 2 are suitable for external reporting and Tiers 3 and 4 are intended for internal use only. Annex 3 of Group standard Process Safety Management provides guidance on reporting of Tier 1 and Tier 2 process safety events as defined in the API Recommended Practice (RP) 754, which are reported externally for industry benchmarking (IOGP, CONCAWE, EPSC, CEFIC), and the collection of Tier 3 KPIs which are reported to assess the performance of barriers that manage the risk of process safety events.

We act

Process safety management in our operations is intended to minimize the risk of a major hazard accident occurring which may impact humans, environment, assets, production and reputation to tolerable values, to ensure that the necessary mitigation and emergency preparedness mechanisms are in place if an accident does happen, and to contribute to business performance by loss control management.

Effective Process Safety Management requires consideration of all lines of defense:

  • Integrity of design, Integrity of operations, Integrity of assets
  • People and business culture
  • Documented policies and practices

In our process safety teams, at corporate level, a Senior PS Expert is part of the Safety department team. Moreover, in Downstream, at our Petrobrazi Refinery, a Senior PS Expert is part of the HSSE department team, and in Upstream at HQ level there is a dedicated Process Safety and Integrity Department to conduct process safety and integrity initiatives, projects, activities. At asset level there is a dedicated Process Safety and Integrity team including a team lead and a process safety engineer. 

Process Safety deals with the risks of Loss of Primary Containment (LOPC) from process installations used in drilling and production operations in our industry. This includes rigs and process equipment to process, store and transfer material including ancillary systems, such as primary containment elements (such as pipelines, tanks, etc.), ancillary support areas (such as boiler houses and wastewater treatment plants), on-site remediation facilities, and distribution piping. In scope are all activities related to drilling, production and processing operations including facility start-up or shutdown operations, related brownfield construction activities, or decommissioning operations, and events resulting from sabotage, terrorism, extreme weather, earthquakes, or other indirect causes.

Process Safety and Integrity is among the highest priorities for OMV Petrom. In Upstream, there is a dedicated budget and focus on reducing risk in its facilities and pipeline networks.

Our Major Accident Prevention Policy clearly defines the way in which process safety incidents (low frequency – higher consequences) could be prevented. Specific Process safety requirements are included in the Group Standard Process Safety management and defines the minimum requirements, the framework for managing Process Safety aspects, and provides guidance on how Process Safety is integrated in the HSSE management of the Group.

The Process Safety Management (PSM) system is aligned with OMV Group HSSE Directive and the OMV Group Management System. This structure covers, in a comprehensive manner, all activities which are recommended by relevant legislations and best available practices. The specification of the Process Safety (PS) requirements will be described with reference to each of the 12 Elements of the HSSE Directive. Key policy aspects in preventing major accidents are identification of process safety hazards, risk assessment and putting in place risk controls. These key aspects are defined in the Group Standard HSSE Risk management including specific guidelines to evaluate specific risks, e.g., Workplace Risk Assessment, Health Risk Assessment, HAZID, and HAZOP.

Each Business Division (Upstream and Downstream) developed specific regulations which define process safety requirements from design to operation and maintenance of process equipment, systems and installations. All process safety related standards are available on a central platform for regulations group wide (e.g., corporate & divisional) called REAL Regulations Alignment Platform (M-Files). Examples for Downstream standards include Process Safety Management, Management of Change, Prestart-up Safety Reviews, Technical Documentation, Definition and Reporting of Process Safety Performance Indicators (PSPI), Internal Assessment of Process Safety Performance, Layer of Protection Analysis (LOPA), Interlock Bypass, Preparation for Emergency Situations and Response Capability. Upstream standards include Process safety and integrity in engineering and design, Control of Defeats, Document management for projects and operations, Safety Critical Elements, and others.

We check

Safety performance in general, and process safety performance in particular, are reviewed during HSSE/safety committee meetings at different levels in organization e.g., OMV Petrom Safety Steering Committee, Upstream HSSE Committee, Petrobrazi Safety Committee, HSSE Committee at Asset level. In such meetings process safety is an important part, discussing PS projects, initiatives, objectives, KPIs and taking decisions.

A Process Safety Annual Report is developed at asset/refinery level. The PS report contains all process safety related projects, activities, objectives, performance indicators that reflect PS performance at local level. This report provides a comprehensive view of the process safety performance for asset management. The Asset manager signs the report.

Process safety performance indicators (PSPI) based on Tier classification are registered and monitored in the Synergi reporting system. A quality check of PS events reported in Synergy is done on a monthly basis by the nominated responsible in the organization. The objective of the quality check is to improve Process safety incident reporting and to allow for a proper analysis, to draw meaningful conclusions on PS performance and to identify improvement actions and prevent the reoccurrence of such incidents. All Tier 1 and 2 PS events are investigated, and lessons learnt are disseminated into organization. All incidents are identified and reported in an appropriate and timely manner. Work-related incidents with potential consequences for people, environment, assets, or reputation are adequately investigated to determine direct causes, root causes, and systemic causes to learn from and prevent the recurrence of similar incidents. Tier 1 and Tier 2 process safety events provide baseline performance information and are measured each year for a consistent overview of the Company’s process safety performance. In addition to Tier 1 and 2 process safety incidents, we monitor Process Safety Tier 3 events for a better assessment of the critical barriers. The monitoring and reporting of Tier 3 events provide an overview of challenges to safety systems to identify and correct weaknesses within the barriers at facility level.

Audits are performed for MAE and legal compliance verification.

Spill preventionOMV Petrom has a Well Integrity Management System in place to ensure that all the wells’ technical integrity is maintained throughout their life cycle and oil spills are prevented. We apply several internal and industry standards when designing wells, such as the OMV Petrom Well Engineering Technical Standard including OMV Petrom Technical Requirement, i.e. for Casing Design and Operational Well Barrier Integrity, the OMV Petrom Well Management Systems for the well lifecycle internal documents, in line with international standards API, ISO 16530 and NORSOK. Blowout preventer (BOP) is an important safety device for offshore drilling. BOPs are installed and tested for each drilling and workover program. We run cement bond logs after drilling new wells to get an image of cement quality. For the active wells, we perform visual inspections frequently and functional testing of the valves occurs periodically as per the Offshore Operations schedules.

OMV Petrom complies with the Directive 2013/30/EU on safety for offshore oil and gas operations. The objective of this Directive is to reduce as much as possible the occurrence of major accidents and to limit their consequences, thus increasing the protection of the marine environment against pollution. In alignment with the relevant Romanian authority, an independent verification body issues annual well integrity reports for the well control during the drilling and workover operations.

Pipeline integrity

In 2021, OMV Petrom continued to improve the Pipeline Integrity Management Program in Upstream. To complement the Pipeline Integrity Management System the introduction of the in-house Integrated Risk Register came into effect. This not only targeted high-risk pipelines, but also prioritized them in such a way that the ones with the largest risk reduction were addressed first. The Corrosion Management Plans developed in 2020 were implemented in the field, which now support the integrity and longevity of our pipelines by cleaning, inspecting and introducing inhibition chemicals along with new corrosion monitoring techniques.

External coatings and cathode protection are now mandatory for all new metallic pipelines and are supported by the Group Standards and Procedures. Within OMV Petrom Upstream, all new pipelines are now constructed, coated and further protected in accordance with Cross Divisional (Upstream and Downstream) standard for cathode protection (CP). The coating application for field joints for Onshore Pipelines are done based on the standard for Coating of Pipes for Pipelines and Coating for Field Joints developed upon the international standard EN ISO 21809 Petroleum and natural gas industries – External coatings for buried or submerged pipelines used in pipeline transportation systems and alternatively upon DIN 30670 Polyethylene coatings for steel pipes and fittings and EN 12068 cathode protection – External organic coatings – Tapes and shrinkable materials.

The Cathodic Protection complies with the requirements for the design, construction, operation and maintenance of cathodic protection systems for buried metallic pipelines onshore with and without the influence of external electrical sources. The requirements as defined in our regulation are based upon the international standard EN ISO 15589-1:2017 (D), Petroleum, petrochemical and natural gas industries.

A Pipeline Inspection program is in place, functional and being further expanded for all categories of pipelines with capability for internal inspection where feasible, all of which is managed and planned within the SAP CMMS (Computerized Maintenance Management System). The Pipeline Inspection Program is a risk-based approach where “next inspection” period is based on the results from the previous inspection along with, corrosion coupon measurements and fluid and debris analysis during pigging and cleaning operations. Where pigging is not possible, spot check wall thickness measurements are taken at critical points and “next inspection dates” based on results are also decided. Normally these range between 2 and 6 years. New technologies are also being tried such as guided wave and ultra-sonic testing, which aims to improve the integrity of the difficult to inspect segments of the pipelines.

In addition to the pipeline integrity and inspection programs mentioned above, OMV Petrom continues to reduce the number of kilometers of pipelines through several field optimization projects, which will reduce the exposure risk by removing numerous aging pipelines whilst maintaining optimal production.

In Downstream, the effective integrity management of Petrobrazi Refinery is supported by a clear program of inspections to ensure maximizing the operational life of the equipment, safe and legal provisions while reducing risk, a practice continued in 2021 with key inspections programed for piping, vessels, boilers, atmospheric and pressurized tankage, and pipelines. There is a module of SAP system in place, implemented under the label AIDA (Asset Integrity Data Assistant) which supports the relevant data management from recording and tracking of inspections results to relevant open cases for proper maintenance and remediation.

We train

Training received by our personnel include workshops on process safety events, MoC trainings, and awareness campaigns along with all other external legal requirements for personnel qualifications, all part of a well-defined training plan. We use a Process Safety Network, an online collaboration platform including a reference library, discussion board, and other features, with regular virtual sessions for exchanging process safety knowledge across the Group, with participants from a variety of Group countries working in different fields of expertise to foster continual learning. Top management participation in these online sessions sends a clear message that process safety is important and demonstrates process safety leadership and commitment.

We plan

Our Annual HSSE plans include process safety initiatives.

The top 255 actions, which account for 80% risk reduction are currently included into the MTP and planned for execution under CAPEX projects, daily running business (OPEX) or by shutting down/in facilities and pipelines.

Our key actions on process safety
In 2021, the Process Safety initiatives remain a major focus for the Company, even though the pandemic influenced the entire business. In Downstream, the effective integrity management of our Petrobrazi Refinery is supported by a clear program of inspections. The aim of inspection activities is to ensure efficient and effective operational life of the equipment, safe and legal provisions while reducing risk. The practice continued also in 2021 with key inspections scheduled for piping, vessels, boilers, atmospheric tanks, pressurized vessels, and pipelines. Key actions on Process safety were directed to developing PS roadmap for refinery for the next period (2021-2025). The Retro-HAZOP program started in 2011 and continued also throughout 2021. The status of Retro-HAZOP measures is continuously tracked. All high-risk measures from Retro-HAZOP program and other PHA studies were the basis to develop integrated risk register (IGRR) at refinery level. In Upstream the following key Process Safety KPI’s were established with actions developed:
  • Develop Process Safety Road Maps for 5 facilities per Asset
  • Complete IGRR population and Cost Benefit Analysis for all High-Risk Actions for both Pipelines and Facilities
  • Convert 32 Instrument Gas Compressor to Instrument Air by end of 2021
  • Positively Isolate and remove from service Open Pits (29) and Atmospheric Storage Tanks (128) which are no longer in service to ensure no future usage
  • 14 high risk pipelines replaced by the end of 2021
  • Develop 100 Corrosion Management Plans for pipelines and facilities to implement in 2022
Audits in 2021 As part of identification and management of major accidents two MAE audits were conducted in OMV Petrom: one in Petromar Offshore with a mixed team (external party and experts from OMV and OMV Petrom) and the second one in Tank Farm Poiana Lacului (Asset Muntenia Vest). Due to COVID-19 restrictions site visits were not conducted. Only online interviews were conducted. Two legal compliance on-line audits were conducted: one in Upstream (Asset Muntenia Vest) and the other in Downstream (Petrom Aviation). As part of 2021 HSSE plan a MoC assessment was conducted by Divisional MoC coordinators in Upstream and Downstream. Safety Corporate department conducted two spot checks on MoC applications: one in Upstream (Pipelines and Civil Work BU) and the other in Downstream – CCPP Brazi. Trainings in 2021
  • Two workshops on process safety events reporting in Synergi for Upstream representatives (Process safety and HSSE).
  • Two MoC training sessions were conducted for corporate functions, and 124 employees were trained.
  • An Explosion awareness campaign was conducted for Downstream.
EPSC Benchmark for 2020 [1]As member in EPSC, OMV Petrom participates in the PSE benchmarking since 2017. OMV Petrom PS performance against EPSC members who participated in the benchmark is presented below.
[1] 2021 EPSC benchmark will be available in Q2 2022.

PSE Rate Benchmark


EPSC all results (API& ICCA&CEFIC)



OMV Petrom





















Results (KPI, other indicators)

In 2021, the PSE rate was 0.14. High-Risk actions are included in the IGRR and prioritized in order of greatest risk reduction per euro spent. It is planned to have achieved 80% risk reduction by 2025.

Process Safety Events





Tier 1




Tier 2








Process safety events split into years
Tiers, Total Country and Total Company are presented in the Performance in detail section of the report.

Digital Tool for Well Integrity – enhanced monitoring for spill prevention

OMV Petrom implemented an industry-recognized digital tool for Well Integrity. Thus, we monitor and track each well barrier’s status to keep all hydrocarbon fluids within a closed and controlled system to prevent spills and environmental pollution and protect our employees and communities. We use this tool to assess the well integrity risks, prioritize the well integrity inspections, and implement the appropriate risk reduction measures. Currently, each and all-active offshore wells are included and monitored in this software. Our goal is to digitalize all our wells and we have already succeeded for 3,600 wells, representing 50% from the total wells in scope of the project at the end of 2021.


For 2022, the HSSE plan was prepared, and process safety objectives are consistently defined, applicable in both Upstream and Downstream. Process safety objectives for 2022 are related to:

  • Set-up Process Safety Roadmaps for the sites that do not already have a Roadmap
  • Integration into all existing and new roadmaps of a risk reduction plan for the years 2022 – 2025, including MTP approval to close out IGRR Actions to reduce PS risk exposure by 80% until end of 2025 (based on IGRR status end of year 2021).
  • Execution of actions defined in existing Process Safety Roadmaps
  • Quarterly update of IGRR
  • Perform Management of Change (MoC) Quality audits according to audit plan and report quality in Synergi
  • Implement PHA Compliance monitoring in Synergi including collecting data (type and date of study) on PHA studies and developing a PHA program for facilities without PHA study.
  • Improve Process safety skills and competences employees and relevant contractors by a Process Safety training program for period 2022 – 2025 using existing Process Safety CBT (computer-based training) modules
  • Analysis of Tier 1 and Tier 2 PSEs since 2016 to identify common causes and derive learnings

Improve quality of process safety reporting in Synergi by training, quality check of process safety entries in Synergi and providing feedback to the reporters.