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Ikechukwu Onyegiri's picture

In the age at which we live, no doubt energy controls the world. Loads of effort and assistance has gone into the development of technologies to meet the world's demand for energy and in the light of this we should ask ourselves this question "Is this uprise going to compromise the safety standards on ground?". Man all through history has been known to always find a way at all cost to solve problems even though most point to economical reasons.

So the truce is this, with the development of advanced safety systems and the ever increasing demand for energy, what kind of balance are we expected to perceive for the future? Will indeed man overcome the complexity of safety systems involved in novel technologies which give a glimmer of hope according to world energy forecasts or will man compromise to keep the future of world energy alive?


RossWinter's picture

With the conventional sources of hydrocarbons running out, we now have to look for other ways to retrieve oil and gas. Many of these new ways are a lot more dangerous, in the techniques to retrieve the resource. We are looking in different regions (arctic, which has many risk factors to consider) and different techniques (fracking). With the advancement of the renewable technologies we should become less reliant on the 'traditional' fossil fuels meaning we won't need to risk people's lives in the extraction of these precious resources. Also the cost effectiveness side or the energy debate will help the consumers decide which form of energy they want. Currently it is cheaper to get heat and electricity from fossil fuels but once the renewable technologies have advanced and developed, then these types of energy production will become more cost efficient.

Ross Winter Msc Renewable Energy

Fungisai N Nota's picture

Fungisai Nota BEng(Hons) MIET

Fungisai N Nota's picture

Fungisai Nota BEng(Hons) MIET

Fungisai N Nota's picture

 I come to agree with Ross that the new methods of trying to
get the oils and hydrocarbons and gas are becoming more dangerous as the
resources are depleting we can take the method of fracking for shale gas causes
more harm to the environment and inducing chemicals which can end up in the
water stream. I believe that there should be a line of new legislative drawn up
to try help in improving the safety if we are to have a better future ahead. There
should be tighter control measures put in place and not just run methods
because they are cheap.  

Fungisai Nota BEng(Hons) MIET

Maria Christou's picture

I agree with Ross that renewable energies tend to be the
future’s energies since they are safer. However, as Mr. Paul Mitchell said
today, by developing one form of renewable energy you are affecting other
factors in people’s lives.

For example, you will need corn to produce biofuels. If you
use all of the corn fields just to produce biofuels then you won’t have enough
corn to make flour and then bread. Therefore, countries in order to cover all
of their needs, they will produce less power and they will not export it to
other countries. In addition, the other countries will need to find other ways
to provide energy to their people.

So, to answer to Ikechukwu’s question, I believe that people
will have to compromise to keep the future of world’s energy alive because the
complexity of novel technologies will always be an issue.


It is obviously clear that safety will play a significant role in creating the future's energy mix as it is playing today. I agree with Maria's opinion about the role of "renewables" in future but I would like to dispute about domination of renewables in the future.

I personally believe that to meet the surging energy demand of the growing population we will need all sources of energy. In the future, we should use several energy sources and reduces the risks to a reasonably practicable levels simultaneously. So it will be challenging. As Maria cited here one policy can be renewables  but I reckon that renewables cannot meet the future demand. From my point of view, Fossil fuels will continue to be dominant since they are cheaper  but the issues regarding their safety will be reduced by Carbon Capture and Storage(CCS) and also increasing the energy efficiency. I believe ,in the future, each decision of using an energy source will be made based on safety. One example is the target of reducing GHG emissions to 450ppm.I think the energy approach for future is based on this safety measure. Additionally, HSE legistlation will be more strict because we will face a lot of accidents in the future which will transfer  "unknowns" to "knowns" and result in new rules and legistlations.


Connie Shellcock's picture

Irrespective of what type of energy sources
are going to be used in the future, there is going to be a level of unknown
that we don’t know about. Already databases for systems such as wind turbines
are collecting data to provide decision support. However as quoted in our first
lecture of this module “There are known knowns, there are things we know that
we know. There are known unknowns;  that
is to say there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also
unknown unknowns- these are things we do not know we don’t know”. Much of the
safety legislation put in place has been as a result of a disaster happening in
the first place for example, after the Flixborough disaster, CMAH were
introduced; after the piper alpha disaster, Lord Cullen recommended that
prescriptive legislation should be replaced by a goal setting legislative

It is my personal opinion that yes the
energy industry will initially be a more dangerous world to work in until we
have established ourselves in it. Every effort should be made to make the
industry as safe as possible however due to the level of uncertainty that is
present in a new idea, I think this will be challenging to achieve.

Deinyefa S. Ebikeme's picture

We are in a changing world (industry revolution) driven by high concentrated forms of energy been harnessed by man (engineering through coping natural) in other to giving everyone on the planet access
to safe clean and sustainable energy supplies, central to the functioning
development of human societies.

So far, some credits should be given to man's ingenuity and effort in this regard having worked towards sustainable development defined as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs (United Nations, 1987) but yet to attain it all because the world is not an ideal place (1).

Soonest we will strike a mean balance in meet the rising energy demands and also reduce the level of pollution especially in the transport sector which contributes about 40% of the green house gases in the atmosphere today by using cheaper, most abundant and available substances on earth with less human and environment effect. For example Iceland have been able to study its terrain (96% of its forest disappearing in historical times) but has natural geothermal energy characteristics and have sunk geothermal wells which are used to run their steam turbines for electric generation and heating up their buildings without polluting the environment (2).

The big one is this country moving ahead to become the first hydrogen driven economy country where hydrogen gas (from electrolysis) will be used to run their transport sector (vehicles, ships, trains, planes etc) which will kick off next year and with this innovation green house gases emission will be reduce by 50% (3).Other safer innovations for renewable energy (solar, piezo generator, kinetic to energy system, wind farm), new effective technologies etc) will also spring-up to absorb the rising energy demands on other forms of energy in other for reserve to production ratio to be stable.



(1) B Everett, G Boyle, S Peake & J Ramage (2012). Energy systems and sustainability - 2nd Edition.
Oxford University Press



Andrew Allan's picture

An interesting slide was discussed in lecture 1 which compared the deaths per TWh by energy source.  Relative "Safety" of a particular energy source or technology is often more down to political and media influences on the public perception.

Is Nuclear power less safe than Hydro power?  Ask 100 people in the street and i'm sure a high proportion of them would say Nuclear is more dangerous.  Why....Cernobyl......Nine mile island and the significant media attention on both has left them etched into the memories of the world.

Looking at the data presented in the Deaths per TWh slide, Hydro power has a greater number of deaths per TWh than Nuclear.

So I support Connies comment, that collection of specific measurable data over a period of time allows us to determine the relative safety of a particular energy source.

mohamed.elkiki's picture

Energy sector is very unpredictable but our role as engineer is to try as much as possible to reduce the percentage of risk. Also, we should peer in our mind that any new technology such as that renewable energy will face difficulties both from media side and from industry side because big companies such as those for oil and gas will not sacrifice their huge investment for new technology to succeed and take place instead of oil and gas. For example, as Andrew said nuclear energy is a type of energy that most people afraid from, however, it can be safer more than other types of energy but due to media and its role in fearing the public from this type of energy could be also part of political agenda.In my opinion, oil and gas industry is very difficult to end due to those big companies that control it and will not accept another type of energy to take role. However, some types of energy can take role but in small sector such as in certain companies that has dam, they can use hydropower or another who has high wind or solar can use wind energy or solar energy. Therefore, the world energy will always depend on oil and gas till those big companies start to encourage other source of energy like what BP started to do by calling itself Beyond Petroleum so it’s good start. Another last issue is the government that should encourage that new technology in energy sector by for example giving low interest loan to project investing in these sectors. All of this can help in reducing risk and ensuring that energy sector expand and not only depend on only one source of energy. 


Ber_Mar's picture

As the world population is grouwing and growing energetic needs will increase and increase. I believe at some point some of the demand will have to be changed for smarter consumptions. It is like trying to feed a demanding cookie monster that becomes so fat, that at some point it will have to start doing exercise.

This means not only eating healthy food (sustainable energy), but also using it in a smarter way, by saving its resources and using exactly what it needs and only what it needs. In a world that will strugle to have food and water for everyone energy will be the main chalange to keep all the other variables going. The mix will be for sure bigger and bigger and consumers will have to produce some of their energy, to guarantee safe and constant energy in their households.

I believe that centralized models as well as big citys in the end generate too much problems that are complex and harder and harder to solve as dimension increases, so the solution should be to keep it distributed and as simple as possible in order to be able to maintain good safety in supply and happy costumers.

Samuel Bamkefa's picture

Whether man will compromise safety for getting more energy or continually raise the safety standards depends on a lot of factors. In addresssing safety related to an energy source, two views can be taken of it:

1. Safety of the energy processes on people interacting with them

2. Overall effect of the process on the external environment, including other people

The first factor that will determine the safety level is where we get the energy from. Some processes are know to be cleaner to the environment than others. These are found more in many of the unconventiocal sources. Like someone said, a main driver for the adoption of any energy source is economics. We should also remember that one of the main drivers for adopting alternative sources is the safety of the environmnet

The second factor is how much we as humans are ready to go through the pains of developing safety practices in these new areas as we have been able to develop for conventional energy like oil and gas. Granted that a lot of safety legislation in oil and gas were developed as a result of major accidents, we can still be able to learn from how far we have gone in this regard in relation to expanding the energy base

In summary, my take is that man will determine by himself if he wants the search for energy to be safe. He will do this by looking in the right places and following the necessary processes

Samuel Bamkefa

Foivos Theofilopoulos's picture

I was going to write about the two different "safety" factors associated with each type of energy but Samuel beat me to it (and I agree 100% to his approach of the issue) but I would like to add to his approach that everything comes down to resources (and although I use the general term I am more refering to money). As the the amount of accessible oil & gas diminishes, humans will take great pains and go at great lengths to access new and untapped reservoirs. There will be a lot of rationalizations involved when explaining the possible hazards and risks involved, as of course there will be huge amounts of money spent in trying to access the reservoirs safely.

If that amount of money was to be spent in improving other sources of energy (especially sustainable sources), either in terms of safety or efficiency, there could be significant improvements to them. But, our whole lifestyle revolves around fossil fuels. There are no cars running with solar energy, for example (well, there are, but only some prototypes who still have a long way to go until they are commercialy available and efficient).

As I have said in another topic, as long as sources of energy are seen as sources of investment as well, there is little room for improvent, because they yield little return compared with the oil industry.

faizakhatri's picture

I would like to add further in Samuel and Foivos  Many companies  are working on energy  technologies and  investing for improve current energy  like conversion of  power plants by using of CCS to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions to meet electricity demand along with working on renewable energies and increase efficiency to  introduce new one like Biofuel from algae , low net carbon emission transportation fuel , solar cells, energy storage, future network technologies, fuel cells, hydrogen production and storage, distributed generation, energy infrastructure as well as marine energy which  has potential as an economically viable  and achieve  balance for  upcoming  production  and consumption of energy in future in the most responsible mannerFaiza khatri M.Sc oil and gas engineering 


Discussion Topic 22: The role of safety in view of world energy forecast: striking a future balance.

As man devises all possible means of meeting the increasing energy demand. More new technologies are being developed with reduced effects on the environment as well as health and safety for example the Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) with Carbon capture and storage is meant not only to increase the efficiency of electricity generation from coal but also reduce on emissions. Generation IV nuclear power reactors are also being developed, all aimed at increasing plant efficiency as well safety. Of course these new technologies are more costly than the conventional energy technologies but they have more benefits and I don’t see man compromising safety standards. The ALARP risk management concept will still take its course. As oil and gas resources in the world become more depleted, more efforts are now being diverted to cleaner renewable sources of energy such as biofuels, wind energy, geothermal energy and solar energy among others and a lot of research is being carried out on these energy resources to continuously identify areas of improvement in the current technologies being used and it all rotates around efficiency, economic viability and safety. I am of the view that as man seeks for alternative means of meeting energy demands for the future, we shall continue to register a great improvement in safety because most of the upcoming technologies also consider environmental health and safety given the current legislation in place.

John Bosco Aliganyira
Msc.Oil and Gas Engineering

Siwei Kang's picture

Personally I believe that fossil energies will keep their dominant places in energy share worldwide in the next decades, even though renewable energy has already got much attention by far. Therefore, my take is that man will compromise safety for getting more energy with soaring energy demand year by year.

Acoording to 2030 energy outlook released by BP in June 2012, natural gas, oil and coal will be the primary energies, accounting for 30% share respectively. And the remaining 10% will be shared by hydro, Nuclear and Renewable. Meanwhile, in our first lecture the comparison of fatalities per Twh was shown in a picture. The coal and oil are recongnized as the two higest risky energy industries so far. Take China for example, although many people lost in the coal operation every year, coal still satisfied 70% of energy consumption in this country in 2009. In USA, Oil and gas is still the primary energies to push its economy growth. This situation can be unchanged in the long term. 

Except the technology bottleneck and low profit, uncertain safety factors in renewable energies could be another hurdle. Wind farm and solar have been developed widely in many countries, but the FAR numbers in these two sectors are unsatisfied. In the light of these uncertainties existed, the safety problem in these energies still takes time in the near future. 

BP (2012), BP Energy Outlook 2030. [online] Available

Harrison Oluwaseyi's picture

Due to growing population of man and increasing Gross
Domestic Product (G.D.P), we require more energy for survival and daily
activities. Conventional sources (fossil fuels) of energy have been dominant
since the 19th century as a result of its quantity, commercial power and energy
content, using them over the years has affected man and his environment, but
these fossil fuels can’t last forever. The effects on our environment and
quantity left are the major reasons why there is a quest for cleaner sources of
energy today e.g. wind, wave energy, biofuels, solar energy etc. The so-called
cleaner sources of energy aren't as efficient as the fossil fuels.

I believe in the nearest future fossil fuels would still be
dominant but they will be obtained through cleaner and safer methods but other
sources of energy such as the renewable energy sources would also play a bigger

Leziga Bakor's picture

As the days go by, people are becoming more and more conscious of safety. Thus safety awareness is on the increase and also the legislations that guide the industrial practices are changing to improve on safety issues. As a result, in the world future energy sector, safety will play an improved role. The risk of having undesired consequences will be reduced and there will be less safety incidents hopefully. I don’t think there will be a time of total safety but there will be improved safety from what is obtainable now. Several bodies are also working to reduce the amount of serious accidents and fatalities in the energy sector. Technology advancement is another factor that affects safety. Technology is advancing daily and with this advancement, there are improvements in safety systems designs making them more and more reliable.  The role of safety in the world energy forecast cannot be over emphasised. It definitely will play more role than it is playing today. In future, there will be a balance between the safety issues and any energy production. If the safety issues are not reduced to a level of ALARP, there will be no production.

Ekaterina Pavlichenko's picture

The role of Safety is constantly evolving, indeed when you consider that all process equipment is being classified today with appropriate SIL designations to ensure that substandard equipment is not inadvertently installed and that manufacturing has relevant safety standards at nearly every level; indeed it could be said that in every field safety has reached right in and become an integral part of every action and process.

So how do we see the relationship between future energy technologies and safety? Well simply put we need to ensure that active legislation is established, ensuring that the rush into renewable technologies is tempered by safety considerations at every turn. We need to ensure that all new and untried technologies are robustly tested against existing safety standards and that innovative safety procedures are created to ensure that the highest standards are applied to all new technologies.

The challenge is the creation of these new procedures that will require a breed of safety engineer that is technically at the cutting edge, able to understand the latest technologies and accurately assess and mitigate the potential dangers associated with their implementation. The future of safety within the evolving energy market is in legislation!

Government legislation will need to cover the full spectrum of activities, from the PPE worn be individual workers to the energy processes and design technologies being developed, safety will and should be the first consideration in all undertakings and will be involved in every part of every action!'s picture

I would like to talk about the energy safety issues in the future.As we known, the oil and gas are still the most important energy all over the world. Even in the future, they will take a large proportion in the energy structure. However, not only the production, but also the transportation is always related to the safety issues. With the high attention to the safety, most of the oil companies bring out some policies to prevent the hazards. However, the safety in the future is not just the responsibility of the companies, but individuals and government should involve in this group. For instance, before starting the work in the workplace, better education and training about the safety and work process is quite significant. This procedure will increase the awareness of the safety and professional skills of the individuals. in addition, government should put some efficient guidance into reality. Moreover, some legislation about safety should also be considered.

sreehariprabhu's picture

No matter whichever form of energy, whether it is renewable or non-renewable ones, it is important that every one of it must be safe. But the fact is that we cannot make them 100% safe. So what we can do is to minimize the hazards it can cause. Of course energy industry is the industry which must have a good safety practice and systems. If we take offshore industry as an example, we can see how safety regulations in UK has changed. When the Sea Gem sank, new regulations were implemented. But still in 1988, Piper Alpha Disaster occured. This lead to change the legislative regulations and placed a goal setting regulation according to the Cullen report. Still after following these regulations, Deep Water Horizon took place. So even if we follow good safety practices these incidents happen. From these examples we can understand that it is not possible to make any industry completely safe. But the only thing we should do is that learn from the incidents happen and make sure this kind of an accident will never happen again.

Thus if we follow these kind pf safety measures in every industry, we can minimize the accidents. We have a lot of renewable energy systems coming up now. Since this is a new system, the safety factors must be studied and applied correctly. Risk analysis must be done from tha beginning of the project. This will help in identifying hazards and thus reduce them.

Sreehari Ramachandra Prabhu

Kwadwo Boateng Aniagyei's picture

In as much the world seeks to have a balanced energy mix, it is an undisputed fact that fossil fuels will continue to remain dominant on the world's energy landscape. Exploration activities for fossil fuels have taken a new dimension with most activities venturing deep waters and the arctic. Safety concerns have been raised about most of these activities but the economic benefits involved are too good to be ignored. Instead, research and development has been intensified to develop technologies that will allow safe production of the new areas. Moreover, the practice of a good and well monitored safety culture is mostly difficult and expensive. Most companies will therefore avoid investments into safety management because there are no immediate significant gains. Due to this financial conflict there exists a struggle between safety and production targets. However production targets are more favoured and preferred due to the economic gains. Hence the impact of safety on production is somewhat limited despite the attention that is accorded the safety issues. In my opinion the world's future energy mix will continue to be as predicted with very little or near nothing interferences from safety related issues.

ZHANGYANAN's picture


Recently, more and more renewable energies come into human's life. Such as wind energy, soalr energy, hydropower, geothermal enregy and etc.

Wind energy and solar energy are always insteady taht may bring some negative impact on the sorrounding weather.

The solar energy has the features of low efficient and high cost. Also, the wind energy may bring the noisy pollution and the wind farm need to be set up on the wide areas.

Hydropower may cause the pollution of the water. And also it may be  limited by the landform and geography nearby and also the weather. It will bring some negative impact on the balance of the ecology and environment as well.

In conclusion, we need to do more improvement on the renewable energy technologies in the future.

Zhang Yanan

ID: 51233945


Marinos Ioannou's picture

While reading my colleaque's posts above, I see that most of us support the same thing. As the future engineers and leaders of this planet it is our duty to provide safety at a global level while providing the energy for covering the everyday needs. The problem, is to find and develop every possible solution that we can in order to keep the environment and the people safe. Most of the current developing forms of energy, even when they are labeled as 'green' energy sources, they hide several issues. For instance, when you grow corns or any other vegetables in order to extract the energy out of them by making biofuells, the land needed to grow this vegetables is so big that could feed a lot of people. Also, a big issue about that is the fact that when the population tend to maximise, we will need more land only to build houses, so imagine what can happen then!  

Marinos Ioannou

Tilak Suresh Kumar's picture

With increasing demand in energy and the attitude of the industry the importance of safety is highly neglected in the field of future energies. The cost and safety is high debated but the companies always try to compromise on safety over the cost. It is only possible now in viewing the world energy forecast by developing comprehensive technologies which are efficient and are suitable to provide a safe operation throughout its life. And also development of effective regulation for the future energies with the present understanding and the also focusing on the future needs shall ease the concern of safety.

amir masoud bayat's picture

During recent decades noticeable changes
have happened in the world of industry which have led to new significant
challenges regarding workers' occupational health and safety. Regardless of
physical, chemical and biological risks, these changes have also result in
emerging psychosocial risks which in direct proportion with the way work is organized,
designed and managed, as well as the economic context of work.

 Generating a safety work
environment to prevent the incident of psychosocial issues;

 psychosocila risks
associated with work
environment changes and getting the underlying
causes of safety-related results which could be related to them such as
cardiovascular diseases.

 The complex interaction between musculoskeletal disorders
and psychosocial risk factors.

 The real forecast should provide a continuously follow-up of
the constant societal and technical evolution and offer a long term up-to-date
forecast on presenting risks.


Safety consciousness continues to increase
and present legislation that guide the industrial practices are been tailored
to ensure safety to the best standards. But in the future this trend will only
continue to the extent that energy is available. This is to say that as more
stringent policies are placed on conventional energy companies to keep to the
highest safety practices and the cost of their product will go up with
deficiency supply. More and more people/government will be forced to slack on
safety regulations to allow alternative sources to strive. Just as it is seen
with coal even with the established harm to the environment, the same is seen
with nuclear energy.

Therefore in the future energy
availability will dictate the level of safety or environmental regulations




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