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Operational risk

Our operating businesses are responsible for identifying and managing risks and our operating management system helps them do this in a consistent and rigorous way

Our operating management system (OMS) brings together BP requirements on health, safety, security, the environment, social responsibility and operational reliability – as well as related issues, such as maintenance, contractor relations and organizational learning – into a common management system. 


Our OMS helps us improve the quality of our activities by setting a common framework that our operations must work to. All businesses covered by our OMS undertake an annual performance improvement cycle and assess alignment with the applicable requirements of the OMS framework.

Any variations in the application of our OMS, in order to meet local regulations or circumstances, are subject to a governance process.


The three lines of defence for operational risk

  1. Our operating businesses are our first line of defence. They are responsible for identifying and managing risks and bringing together people with the right skills to do this. They verify their own conformance with safety and operating requirements and are also subject to independent scrutiny and assurance.
  2. The second line of defence is our safety and operational risk team, which works alongside operating businesses. The team is responsible for setting clear requirements, maintaining an independent view of operating risk, providing assurance on how risks are being managed, and intervening when appropriate to bring about corrective action.
  3. Our group audit team is the third line of defence and visits sites on a risk-prioritized basis to check how they are managing risks. 

Assessing physical risks to our facilities

We seek to assess the potential impacts of severe weather events and a changing climate– such as heatwaves, extreme precipitation, drought, storms and rising sea levels – on our new projects from the design stage.

In Mauritania and Senegal, where we are developing an offshore liquefied natural gas facility, we are using climate models to assess potential vulnerability to possible increasing air temperature, seawater temperature and precipitation.

Our operations and projects can draw on guidance, including in-house expertise, to help them manage potential risks from a changing climate. We are working with industry and academia to build enhanced tools and methods to help assess potential changes.

We’re also working with industry peers through the International Association of Oil & Gas Producers (IOGP). We hosted an IOGP climate resilience conference in 2018 which brought together oil and gas operators and academics to discuss physical risks for the industry.

BP offshore facility

Setting expectations of our partners

40% of our upstream production in 2018 was from joint ventures where BP is not the operator (excluding Rosneft and our US onshore gas business)

BP often partners with other companies in our business activities – sometimes we are the operator and sometimes our partner manages the operations.

We monitor performance and how risk is managed in our joint ventures, whether we are the operator or not. In joint ventures where we are the operator, our OMS, code of conduct and other policies apply. We aim to report on aspects of our business where we are the operator, as we directly manage the performance of these operations. 

Where we are not the operator, our OMS is available as a reference point for BP businesses when engaging with operators and co-venturers. We have a group framework to assess and manage BP’s exposure related to safety, operational, and bribery and corruption risk from our participation in non-operated joint ventures. Where appropriate, we may seek to influence how risk is managed in these types of ventures.