The International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the United States Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA) have placed new security planning and preparedness requirements on oil and gas exploration and production (E&P) facilities. Qualifying E&P facilities within territorial waters of countries signatory to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), were to have completed Security Vulnerability Assessments (SVAs) as early as July 2004. In some countries, this deadline has been extended. There are currently no comprehensive SVA guidelines that companies can use to evaluate their onshore and/or offshore facilities. Furthermore, existing guidelines focus on security threats stemming from potential acts of terrorism and do not adequately address many equally important security concerns faced by E&P facilities worldwide.

ConocoPhillips Venezuela (COPVen) and its partners, Corporación Venezolana de Petróleo (CVP), Eni Venezuela B.V., OPIC Karimum Corporation, and Inelectra C.A., have significant hydrocarbon investments in Venezuela—and understand the importance of security planning during every phase of operations.

This paper describes how COPVen adapted existing methodology to complete an innovative SVA of current as well as planned facilities and activities in the Gulf of Paria, northeastern Venezuela. Consistent with the companies' sustainable development approach in the region, the SVA anticipates potential security threats, prioritizes issues, and proposes mitigation measures that enhance security. This paper also describes how COPVen incorporated social and environmental considerations and used an innovative methodology to complete the work. The process used by COPVen and its partners represents a basis to identify, plan, review and continuously improve system-wide and facility-specific security measures to protect people, assets and the environment in the Gulf of Paria.

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