Asset Integrity and Process Safety Management

We are committed to high standards of asset integrity to ensure safe, reliable, effective and efficient operations. 

To manage the integrity and continuously improve the reliability of our operations — including pipelines, pressure equipment, tanks and infrastructure — we use a proactive risk-based management approach. The cornerstone of our Asset Integrity Management System (AIMS) is ensuring that risks are identified, assessed and action plans are in place to prevent failures and incidents. 

Asset Integrity Management System (AIMS)

Proactive risk identification, management and mitigation across all operations  

Our Asset Integrity Management System (AIMS) is designed to: 

  • prevent injury to people arising from the operation of pressure equipment; 
  • meet or exceed the requirements of the applicable regulators; and 
  • reduce the risk of property damage due to pressure equipment failure. 

Maintaining the integrity of our process equipment means preventing and minimizing spills, and loss of pressure containment. Asset integrity programs are developed by specialized and highly qualified teams that conduct proactive, technical reviews of our equipment and how it is operated, to help ensure worker safety and reduce environmental incidents by minimizing exposure to risks. 

Our programs include inspections, evaluations, monitoring and mitigation strategies to protect people, the environment, and the integrity of our assets. 

Our Asset Integrity Management System is based on the principles found in the Corporate Statement on Asset Integrity Management — essential to the way in which Canadian Natural conducts its business. 

Process Safety Management (PSM)

We stage a variety of emergency simulation exercises to ensure personnel are fully prepared to respond in the event of an incident 

We focus on the integrity of process equipment across all our operations as an essential part of ensuring safety Company-wide. 

Our Process Safety Management (PSM) program provides the framework to prevent and control serious incidents, such as spills or leaks that involve hazardous materials. The integrity of our process equipment is essential to maintain Company-wide safety, and by following our PSM system we apply strong design principles, engineering and operating practices. 

We continue to refine the key elements of the PSM program — greater hazard awareness, competency training, incident investigation and implementation of lessons learned, management of change and technical audits — across our operations, improving our processes and performance through safety metrics and monitoring. 

PSM Programs 

  • Operational Risk Assessments (ORA) – Implemented across our operations, ORAs assess potential process safety concerns to implement short-term mitigation controls (or temporary shut-ins) until a permanent solution is in place. This tool enables clear communications regarding risks and mitigation strategies. Experienced team members oversee and coordinate the process, driving methodical analysis and focused actions when required. 
  • Risk-based inspection (RBI) – RBIs focus on the condition of facilities and equipment, and also measure and rank the likelihood of failure and its consequences. RBI processes are embedded in our management programs and completed across all our operations. 
  • Contractor alignment – We work to align Canadian Natural’s safety processes and practices with Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) management systems, including use of RBIs to identify and manage hazards to prevent failures. 

Facility Integrity

We strive to ensure our pressure equipment is maintained and operated in a safe manner to prevent incidents and safeguard our people and the environment. To manage the integrity of each piece of pressure equipment during its entire lifecycle, we prioritize inspections, monitoring and maintenance plans.  

Pressure Equipment Integrity Management Systems (PEIMS)

To manage the integrity of our pressure equipment in Canada, we have Pressure Equipment Integrity Management Systems (PEIMS) for North America Exploration and Production (NA E&P) and Oil Sands Mining and Upgrading operations. Each program is registered and remains fully compliant with the regional jurisdictions in which we operate and are subject to periodic audits by the provincial pressure equipment safety authorities — the Alberta Boilers Safety Association (ABSA) and the Technical Safety Authority of Saskatchewan (TSASK). 

In alignment with our North American operations, our International division has Integrity Management Systems in place for pressure systems, pipelines, structures and subsea control systems. 

Managing our offshore operations

At our International operations, our framework for successful integrity management follows best practices and lessons learned within the international oil and natural gas industry. 

Our North Sea and Offshore Africa facilities are subject to a range of operating conditions that can present challenges to managing infrastructure. To maintain asset integrity while safeguarding employees, our International operations have a robust Asset Integrity Management System that ensures our assets are fit for purpose over their lifetime.

For example, our annual Technical Authority audit program includes visits to all our North Sea platforms and each of our Offshore Africa operations. These internal audits evaluate the effectiveness of our Asset Integrity Management System every year, and findings are used for improvement plans. We also have a Well Integrity Management Policy and procedures that follow industry best practices, and are independently verified.

Our PSM framework addresses regulatory requirements of the UK Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) regulatory body. The United Kingdom’s goal-setting legislative regime is one of the most stringent in the world. Our risk management approach incorporates key performance indicators (KPIs) into all aspects of our business to ensure that our performance is measurable and continuously improved upon.

Our efforts have a particular emphasis on ensuring a consistent approach to Operational Risk Management, which includes a risk-based focus on mature production facilities. Such an approach helps us monitor the integrity of our offshore installations and ensure that performance standards of safety critical components continue to be achieved throughout the life extension phase of our facilities.

Case Studies