Cranfield researchers compute risk to offshore equipment

Palisade Corp’s @Risk used in Monte Carlo modeling of R&D, deployment and lifetime risks.

Researchers from the Cranfield, UK School of Applied Sciences report on successful application of Palisade Corp’s flagship @Risk Monte-Carlo-based extension to Microsoft Excel to evaluate and mitigate the risks associated with the development of high-end subsea oil and gas equipment. Subsea equipment is deployed at great depth and often in hostile environments. Potential intervention costs in excess of $10 million place a huge premium on assuring long term reliability by spending time and resources early in the product design lifecycle.

The Cranfield researchers used two engineering risk analysis techniques, reliability, availability, maintainability (RAM) and life cycle costing analysis (LCC). RAM focuses on the ability of system components while LCC evaluates the financial big picture including cost of repair and lost revenue due to downtime. System components are characterized by a ‘time to failure’ distribution and thousands of model runs used to build an overview of failure modes—balancing likelihood of failure with ease of maintenance and consequences.

Cranfield’s Karl Woods said, ‘@RISK’s sophisticated analysis enables us to measure the unknowns, and combine reliability forecasts with the cost of breakdowns, thereby illustrating that lack of investment in making a product more reliable can often be false economy in the long term.’ The project was part-funded by the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. More from

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