Performance Standards for Safety-Critical Elements - Are We Doing Enough?
- Dennis Denney (JPT Senior Technology Editor)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- December 2011
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 74 - 76
- 2011. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 1 in the last 30 days
- 68 since 2007
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This article, written by Senior Technology Editor Dennis Denney, contains highlights of paper SPE 140727, "Performance Standards for Safety-Critical Elements - Are We Doing Enough?," by Rahul Dhar, SPE, Abbott Risk Consulting, prepared for the 2011 SPE European Conference on Health, Safety, and Environmental in Oil and Gas Exploration and Production, Vienna, Austria, 22-24 February. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
Safety-critical-element (SCE) life-cycle management involves identifying major accident hazards (MAHs); selecting SCEs by identifying structures and plants that can cause, contribute to, prevent, or help recover from a major accident event; and developing the performance standards (PSs) for the identified SCEs. It also involves alignment of maintenance routines, inspection and testing, performance history, and other tasks required to maintain the SCE in a suitable condition. Continual monitoring of the status of the hardware barriers and performance-assurance tasks enables the operating staff and management to analyze the ongoing conformance of the SCEs by use of their PSs.
Although much has been achieved by the oil and gas industry in terms of reducing risk to personnel, the environment, and assets by use of SCEs and PSs, major accidents continue to happen. The concepts of SCEs and PSs have been presented to prevent or reduce the number of major accidents. MAHs or major events are defined differently in different parts of the world, but have a common underlying theme in that they can cause harm to multiple people, cause substantial environmental damage, or cause expensive damage to the assets. The author highlighted three headline events in the full-length paper to promote thought on the topic: the Montara wellhead-platform blowout in 2009, the Deepwater Horizon accident in 2010, and the Ocean Ranger semisubmersible sinking in 1982. These events suggest that, perhaps, not enough is being done and, therefore, more effort must be made to reduce the number of major accident events or possibly prevent them.
Need for SCEs
Reliable Design and Engineering (Good Practices). SCEs and their PSs ensure that new installations or designs con-form to current good practice and reliable engineering. For new installations, it is extremely important that their design be robust and that they be able to perform their intended functions throughout their design life.
Aging Installations. As current oil and gas installations get older, it is important to ensure that they remain capable of performing intended functions in the safest manner possible to avoid harm to personnel or to the environment. SCEs and their life-cycle-management processes help achieve these goals and reduce or prevent the major accidents.
|File Size||538 KB||Number of Pages||3|