Iceland Drilling


In the past two years Iceland Drilling has achieved a zero lost time injury rate and had no medical injuries reported while completing 900,000 work hours in New Zealand and the Philippines.

In total the company has completed 32 rig moves in the two countries. Each move includes rig erection, take down and relocation. That has seen a total of 512,000 tonnes of equipment moved during this period.

The company owns and operates six large geothermal rigs ranging from a 100-tonne hook load to a maximum of a 350-tonne hook load. Three of the rigs - Tyr, Odinn and Geysir – are operated in New Zealand and the Pacific.

The type of business carried out by IDC requires transportation of a 1,600-tonne rig which is broken down into 60 truckloads and transported to a target geothermal area, which could range from farm land to the side of a mountain.

IDC holds three international certifications for safety and environmental management. The organisation also uses the internationally recognised Star maintenance programme for all its drilling rigs. 

Lessons learnt

But Iceland says the contract it won with Mighty River Power in 2011 put it on a very steep learning curve in terms of working in another culture and operating to another country’s regulatory system.

It says it is now applying those lessons – including from its mistakes – in its wider regional operation.

The company says its prosecution for a 2012 incident, in which only minimal harm occurred, was used to drive changes in how Iceland Drilling manages all aspects of its sites and operation.

No matter what country the firm operates in, IDC says all its rig sites in the region are now operated as `islands’ with their health and safety systems overseen from New Zealand.

Everything happening within that site, including client work not directly involved with the drilling programme, will be managed by IDC to its standards. That includes everything from equipment and systems to be used, down to the quality of food and water brought on site.

Island approach

Iceland says the `island’ approach breaks down the potential barriers that can be created by the many cultures, nationalities and languages it encounters on different sites.

Having the onsite health and safety supervisors report directly to the New Zealand HSE manager also reduces the risk of safety being compromised by pressure for production in countries where safety is not always a high priority.

Within the island, IDC enforces pre-tower meetings at the start of each shift, where all staff and contractors are taken through the work expected, truck and equipment movements, the standard operating procedures as well as job safety analysis.

Workers and contractors are also encouraged to use the firm’s safety action card system to raise safety issues and offer ideas. On average the firm receives more than 60 a month while a rig is in operation.

And before any work starts, contractors, client and IDC must agree a site-specific safety plan and an emergency response plan. Before mobilisation, a journey management plan is developed with the client and government and local officials to identify the safest route and times for travel and to mitigate any known risks.

Iceland says the success of its systems is reflected in what it considers to be world class rig availability and a sickness absenteeism rate as low as 2 per cent.

The Excellence in Health and Safety category is sponsored by he Electricity Networks Association.