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ICRARD Meeting 2007 UK Offshore Research. Steve Walker HSE Offshore Division. Introduction. Background to HSE’s offshore research programme Summary of current offshore health & safety research Details of two key projects:- Offshore Influencing Networks Ageing structures offshore.

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ICRARD Meeting 2007UK Offshore Research

Steve Walker

HSE Offshore Division


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Introduction

  • Background to HSE’s offshore research programme

  • Summary of current offshore health & safety research

  • Details of two key projects:-

    • Offshore Influencing Networks

    • Ageing structures offshore


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Background: HSE’s Offshore Research Programme

  • Historically, HSE’s offshore research programme has been extensive – e.g. 1998/99 offshore research budget was £3.8 million, with 96 new projects commissioned that year.

  • However, our offshore research activity has been reducing ever since.



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Background - continued

  • Current HSE offshore research budget is £355K, with 6 new projects commissioned during 2006/07

  • Overall climate is for HSE, as the UK health and safety regulator, to reduce expenditure on major hazards research, including offshore. Offshore research accounts for only 3% of HSE’s total external research budget

  • Industry expected to fund more of the offshore research, and HSE needing to involved partners

  • Drive for greater use of HSE’s internal research capability (HSL – the Health & Safety Laboratories), but their specific offshore capability limited


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Background – offshore environmental research

  • Offshore environmental research follows a similar pattern, with UK’s Offshore Oil & Gas Environmental Research Programme (run by Department of Trade & Industry) is now closed.

    • This £2 million programme on research related to marine discharges, environmental impact assessment, radioactive oilfield waste etc

  • Government offshore environmental research in future to be linked to a new industry lead initiative

    • Oil & Gas UK - previously known as UKOIA - has set up an “Evidence Review” to look at the large number of reports, studies and surveys concerning the interaction of exploration / production activities with the environment.

    • From a gap analysis the intention is to develop an appropriately funded programme of research and monitoring.


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    Current offshore research – key topics

    • Gas Detection

    • Fire issues

    • Passive Fire Protection

    • Flexible Risers

    • Mooring of FPSOs

    • Metoceon

    • Structural Integrity/Ageing Installations

    • Influencing Networks


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    Current HSE offshore research. 1. Flammable gas detection

    • Develop a “Flammable Gas Detection Guide” for HSE and the petroleum industry

      By collecting and codifying knowledge relating to offshore detection systems, so as to ensure compliance with the regulations and satisfy appropriate performance standards.

    • To assess the feasibility of using advanced gas detection techniques

      as a means of increasing the number of gas leaks detected offshore while preventing spurious shutdowns. The research will analyse actual flammable detection system behaviour obtained from offshore logged data, to enable a better understanding of offshore detection systems and, as a consequence, opportunities to improve detection rates at the same time as reducing spurious alarms.


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    Current HSE offshore research.2. Fire issues

    • Running pool fires

      To investigate further the behaviour of running pool fires, to develop a more accurate model of their behaviour and to provide advice and guidance to HSE inspectors and to the oil companies taking part in the research. This project will investigate the severity and timescale for deck failures from fire initiation of running pool fires, as the project running at present has shown an unexpected result with the welds on the test panels of oil rig decking failing

    • Formation of flammable mists offshore

      This project seeks to examine flammable mist/aerosol formation for the offshore environment. It seeks to review the available models for the different release situations, examine their state of validation and suggest sets of experiments to address the deficiencies in the latter. This work aims to catalyse action to encourage industry themselves to develop the understanding of mist explosion hazards. A further, experimental stage is planned 2007-2009.


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    Current HSE offshore research.3. Passive fire Protection

    • Interaction of deluge and passive fire protection (PFP)

      PFP is applied to structures and vessels in areas where water deluge systems may also operate. There is very little information on the behaviour of epoxy intumescent systems when subjected to water deluge, and it has been suggested that water deluge may prevent the epoxy from intumescing and/or wash away the protective char. The research will explore how typical PFP systems behave under water deluge in a number of experimental jet fire tests.

    • Thermal cycling of PFP for high pressure/high temperature applications

      In recent years reservoirs with higher temperatures and pressures have been exploited by operators. There have also been a number of installations where PFP has extensively degraded and fallen off. This includes areas such as separators that are subject to high temperatures and thermal cycling. The research will examine patterns of degraded PFP and identify possible effect of high temperatures and thermal cycling – Phase 1 is a scoping study to look at the influence of HTHP on PFP, with Phase 2 will gather experimental evidence.


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    Current HSE offshore research.4. Flexible risers

    • The flow of high pressure gas through internally corrugated flexible risers is complex, poorly understood, and gives rise to vibration. These vibrations have caused failure of topsides piping and releases of hydrocarbons. Phases 1 and 2 of this project instigated testing and mathematical modelling of the complex gas flow to increase our understanding of this phenomena. The effect of riser corrugations has been quantified. Phase 3, the final phase, aims to identify and predict the critical process conditions and physical riser configurations that lead to the onset of this phenomena.

      The Outcome of this research (2009) will be guidelines and procedures to avoid fatigue failure of topside and sub-sea pipe work due to this phenomena. The guidelines can be used both on existing and future offshore installations to improve integrity.


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    Current HSE offshore research.5. FPSO Mooring integrity

    • To increase knowledge of mooring systems, and to take forward specific issues identified from Phase 1 of this JIP. The research will provide data and information which will help to reduce the number of mooring line failures occurring in the UKCS. To 2008


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    Current HSE offshore research.6. Metocean – three linked projects

    • Metocean Crest Elevations

      to understand how, in joint probability calculations, differing assumptions with respect to storm duration affect the value and return period of the criteria so developed, and develop and agree a common, acceptable methodology. The work will enable the development of the OSD technical policy in extreme weather and an overall acceptable policy that will drive the benchmarking and methods used in this area.

    • Data Identification for Crest Elevation

      to identify which computer generated wave, tide and surge data sets are acceptable to HSE when used in combination for the purpose of establishing deck elevations. This will enable completion of the Extreme Weather Technical Policy, which aids inspection, safety case assessment, and guides operational enforcement policy, as well as providing information for the industry.

    • ISO Standard on Crest Elevation for UK North Sea Installations

      to evaluate the validity of applying the revised calculation methods and data sources given in the new Standard, to enable HSE to decide on an enforcement strategy regarding whether it should be adopted for enforcement purposes. We have evidence that to show that a significant number of fixed installations in the North Sea could be compromised by extreme water levels in storms by applying the ISO Standard. This further work will provide OSD with an objective and independent evaluation of the ISO calculation methods and their adequacy for determining the design basis for extreme surface elevation of new structures, and for the re-assessment of existing structures.


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    Current HSE offshore research.7. Structural Integrity projects

    • Framework Development for Structural Integrity Management

      to develop a comprehensive framework for structural integrity management of fixed offshore installations including development of OSD technical Policy and to use as a benchmark against which duty holders’ management systems can be assessed, audited and inspected.

    • Techniques and Technologies Underpinning Scope for Technical Policy Development for Structural Integrity Management

      To provide technical input to the inspection programme for structural integrity management by providing a sound basis for discussion with the industry for improvement in integrity management. The study provides the basis for development of good practice to complement the ISO Standard 19902 Fixed Offshore Structures and would also enable OSD to influence directly the offshore industry in its structural integrity management activities through enforcement work.


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    Current HSE offshore research.7. Structural integrity projects (cont).

    • Structural Integrity Monitoring Review For Offshore Structures - To address and investigate the potential for non-intrusive structural integrity monitoring (SIM) of fixed and floating offshore installations to enable more effective and safer operation of offshore structures.


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    Current HSE offshore research.8. Others

    • Application of the Influencing Network approach to health and safety in the UK offshore industry

      Establishment of the key influence paths to aid prioritisation of interventions by HSE as the Safety Regulator – completed 2007

    • Development of internal guidance on fire and explosion hazards with ageing offshore oil and gas platforms

      To provide technical guidance on fire and explosion hazards associated with ageing offshore oil and gas platforms. The guidance should also assist operators and design engineers, to demonstrate that an aging offshore installation operates such that the overall risks from major accidents are as low as is reasonably practicable. It will form a frame of reference that can be used by all interested parties to ensure the best available knowledge is used in that demonstration – completed, but to be expanded to other “ageing” issues.


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    Research into hazards associated with ageing offshore oil & gas platforms

    • Significant proportion of UK offshore platforms are approaching or exceeding anticipated design life

    • Increasing desire to extend life of platform for full reservoir exploitation

    • Some “redundant” platforms still remain as offshore infrastructure e.g. modified to act as production hubs


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    • Installations inevitably deteriorate (wear and tear, corrosion -internal/external-obsolete technology, etc. -> reduced reliability

    • BUT, hazard profile will also change – reduced reservoir pressures, higher water cuts, lower inventories, processing transferred t beach etc

    • THEREFORE, HSE research explored a process for re-evaluation of the effects of platform ageing.

    • Phase 1 concentrated on fire and explosion Phase 2 will develop guidance for other areas


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    The Phase 1 research looked at ageing, and identified key aspects in two broad areas for leak & fire detection, active and passive fire protection issues, and HVAC:

    • Changes in maturity

      • Ageing deterioration of plant

      • Changes in conditions

      • Modifications

    • Advances

      • In knowledge

      • In good practise


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