The 2010 Macondo disaster brought the blow out preventer (BOP) into the public eye with its spectacular failure to perform. Long before Macondo, a 1999 study (www.oilit.com/links/1109_2) by Norway’s Sintef research unit for the US regulator, the Minerals Management Service, now Boemre, found that BOP failures accounted for nearly 4% of drilling downtime. A total of 117 failures were observed during the two year study of 83 wells drilled in the deep water Gulf of Mexico. Worst case events included a control system failure that caused a total loss of BOP control and a shear ram that failed to close.
Today, Lloyd’s Register, the UK-based classification and risk management organization is working to develop software for managing BOP risk. Lloyd’s Register Energy companies ModuSpec and Scandpower, have teamed on ‘BOP Monitor,’ an application that provides BOP assessment while drilling.
BOP Monitor was derived from Scandpower’s proprietary ‘RiskSpectrum’ package originally developed for the nuclear power industry and now deployed in 50% of the world’s nuclear plants. The product includes tools for fault and event tree analysis, documentation, risk monitoring and failure mode analysis. BOPs from two manufacturers have been modeled with more to follow.
Scandpower CEO Bjorn Inge Bakken explained, ‘BOP Monitor uses a risk model based on high quality data to assess operational risk levels in real time, including the identification of faulty components.’
Duco de Haan, ModuSpec’s CEO added, ‘Current BOP risk assessment lacks a consistent structure. Decisions on whether or not to pull them for inspection and maintenance can be difficult to understand for senior management and regulators.’
BOP Monitor embeds data drawn up by a team of operational experts working from current documentation and drawings. Risk assessment is then performed in a controlled setting leveraging Scandpower’s methodology which is claimed to improve on traditional ‘ad-hoc’ assessments. In the event of an incident, the system provides rig owners, operators and regulators with advice on the BOP ‘within hours,’ allowing for ‘informed decisions on whether or not to continue operations.’
A product development review panel has been established with members from the public and the private sectors. Experts from ModuSpec, Scandpower, the nuclear and drilling industries will update the panel with feedback from deployments. Panel members will receive failure mode and criticality analyses, reliability data and the results of fault-tree analyses. Lloyds Register describes itself as a group of ‘charities and non-charitable companies.’ Lloyds acquired Scandpower in 2009. More from www.oilit.com/links/1109_3 (Lloyds) and www.oilit.com/links/1109_4 (RiskSpectrum).
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