Workshop - Black swans - Improved understanding, assessment and management of risk and the unforeseen


Måltidets hus, Richard Johnsens gate 4, 4021 Stavanger, Norway

Event Dates

Thursday, 20 February 2014



Improved understanding, assessment and management of risk and the unforeseen

The "Black Swans" project hereby invites you to join our workshop in Stavanger, 20 February 2014. This event brings together leading experts in risk assessment for cutting-edge discussions on safety and security issues vital for the oil and gas industry.

The target group for the workshop is researchers and analysts working with assessment and management of risk, coming from industry, research institutions, consultancy companies and agencies, who see the need for and are interested in advancing our field in this direction.    

The concept of black swan has gained a lot of attention recently and is a hot topic in many forums that discuss safety and risk. Also in the scientific community it has been focused in the aftermath of Nassib Taleb’s best-selling book The Black Swan (2007). In this workshop we will explore what type of situations and events that are the interesting and important ones when discussing the unforeseen and surprising events, how to conceptualise these, and next confront them (assess and manage).

Some of the issues we will discuss are:

  • How important is it to improve our hazard/threat identification methods?
  • What type of improvements can be made?
  • Can the use of alternative uncertainty representations add something to the analysis?
  • Can signals and warnings be used to improve our assessment?
  • Can red-team approaches be used? Scenario analyses? How?
  • To what extent are robustness and resilience the answer to meet black swans?
  • What does Taleb's antifragile concept add to this?
  • Does risk assessment have a role to play at all in cases of deep uncertainties?
  • Can we draw insights from other areas, like High Reliability Organisations (HROs), with its five characteristics: preoccupation with failure, reluctance to simplify, sensitivity to operations, commitment to resilience and deference to expertise?

About the "Black Swans" project:

The main aim of the project is to develop concepts,  principles, approaches and methods for the proper understanding and assessment of risk, in particular major accident risk, for the Norwegian petroleum activities, that gives due attention to the knowledge dimension and surprises (black swans).

The research group is composed of several internationally recognised experts in the field, in addition to a core group of researchers at the University of Stavanger. The research is carried out in close collaboration with the industry, in particular the partners Gassco, the Norwegian Oil and Gas Association, ConocoPhillips and the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway.


Download the program here

Binding registration within 10 February 2014. The workshop is free of charge.

Submit your registration here

The workshop will take place at:

Måltidets hus
Richard Johnsens gate 4
4021 Stavanger, Norway

Link to map

Questions can be directed to