NASA offers oil industry better risk management strategies

After one small ceremony Thursday, NASA and Deloitte hope to make a giant leap in improving oil field safety.

The space agency and the consulting firm signed off on a partnership to provide advanced risk-management services to oil and gas companies.

It will focus on preventing risk scenarios that have a low probability of occurring but devastating consequences, such as the Deepwater Horizon offshore oil well disaster or the in-flight destruction of the space shuttles Challenger and Columbia.

Specific risk management areas that the partnership will offer potential clients include predicting risk, maintaining a risk-aware culture, modeling risk scenarios and staying abreast of emerging trends in risk management.

Orbit to drill bit: NASA exes bring deep understanding of risk

A wide range of energy companies have expressed interest in contracting for services from the Deloitte-NASA partnership, said John England, a partner with Deloitte.

NASA and Deloitte say they can benefit from each other’s knowledge and share the combined understanding of risk management with oil and gas companies.

“We have had this idea for quite some time,” said William McArthur, a former astronaut and the director of safety and mission assurance for NASA.

“The similarities between exploring space and exploring for oil and gas in remote locations have extraordinary similarities. We are both dealing in hostile environments, we are dealing with complex technologies at the edge of the envelope. We think that this partnership makes a lot of sense.”