The S.P.I.R.I.T. of the world’s largest independent exploration/production company is based on Safety, People, Integrity, Responsibility, Innovation, and Teamwork. ConocoPhillips is focused on oil and natural gas exploration, producing energy, getting it to market, and creating innovative solutions. Internal business units, exploration teams, operational partners, and others help evaluate where to drill, and the company can work in various geographic and geologic settings. It even has operations in deserts and the Arctic.
Incorporated in 2002 with the merger of Conoco and Phillips Petroleum, the company operates in the Lower 48, Alaska, Canada, Europe and North Africa, the Middle East, and Asia Pacific, which constitute its six segments. It produces crude oil out of Prudhoe Bay and Kuparuk, Alaska.
In addition to promoting economic growth, the company works to do business while focusing on the health of the environment and communities it is present in. It employs a Health, Safety, and Environment Management System to boost its accountability. In addition to a focus on occupational health and industrial hygiene, it has an offshore incident prevention and response system that incorporates well control to cap or contain subsea well incidents. Also, it holds interest in the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System.
There are operations in the Gulf of Mexico, Rocky Mountains, and Mid-Continent. The company does business in North Dakota, southeastern New Mexico, and South Texas. In the Gulf, it has interests in Magnolia Field, Princess Field, Ursa Field, and K2 Field.
ConocoPhillips is one of the founders of Marine Well Containment Company, a nonprofit that provides well capping and containment services in the Gulf of Mexico. Also, it was one founder of the Subsea Well Response Project. The organization designed and built four subsea systems used at key locations. These are in South Africa, Norway, Brazil, and Singapore. Also, the main company participates in several other oil spill response industry groups.
Notable ConocoPhillips Accidents
Accidents involving the company’s predecessors include the blowout of an offshore rig in 1977. About 150,000 barrels of crude oil leaked into the North Sea. A storm-related rig accident killed 123 people three years later. Cracked struts were to blame. Two workers were killed and a dozen others injured in a refinery explosion near Borger, Texas, in 1979. In Pasadena, Texas, an explosion rocked a Phillips petrochemical complex in 1989. It killed 23 employees, and 130 others were injured. Due to the violations found, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined Phillips $5.7 million, an explosion at the same facility in 2000 killed one person and injured 70 other workers.
April 2006: A roof collapsed in a storage tank at a Wilmington, California, refinery. A man was killed as he and other contract workers were replacing the tank’s steel bottom. Something caused the 120-foot-diameter roof to fall. Several other minor to substantial injuries were reported.
May 2012: After falling 100 feet, an employee died from his injuries sustained at a Borger, Texas refinery. The facility is now owned by Phillips 66 Co.
February 2017: A Phillips 66 pipeline was ruptured by an explosion, causing burns to two workers. One individual was not accounted for after the incident. The large explosion and fire affected a 20-inch pipe at the Paradis Pipeline Station, which transports gases like propane at high velocities. Three other employees were treated at the scene.
The leading causes of accidents at onshore and offshore refineries include equipment and structural failures. Fires, explosions, chemical exposure, slips and falls, and a lack of training are other major contributors to injuries and deaths on the job. The injuries can be severe, involving the head/neck/back and causing brain trauma, and even limb amputations in many cases. Shoulder injuries and repetitive motion injuries are common as well.
Workers also face the risk of falling overboard and drowning. Even a cut or scrape, or broken bone, can have consequences that prevent employees from returning to the job. Any such accident case will look at negligence as a potential cause. If so, an owner, operator, or crew member may be responsible for failure to maintain equipment, provided adequate training, or the conditions that directly contributed to the accident. Those found liable may have to pay damages for the individual’s loss of work, medical care, or death.