OEEC: New strategies needed to ensure better asset integrity management

Offshore Energy Exhibition & Conference (OEEC), held annually in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, on Tuesday hosted a technical session discussing safety issues within the oil and gas industry.

The session titled “Asset Integrity,” one of the many technical sessions taking place during the two-day event in Amsterdam RAI, has been organized by the Dutch media company Navingo, the organizer of OEEC, in cooperation with Netherlands Oil and Gas Exploration and Production Association (NOGEPA).

Fraser Weir, Netherlands Asset Director at Centrica, moderated the session. Speakers included Hugo van Merrienboer, Technical Authority Pipelines & Structures at TAQA, Jens Ulfkjær, Principal Engineer, Structures & Pipelines DNV GL – Oil and Gas Denmark, and Onno Jansen, Senior Consultant at Stork.

The session covered a variety of different topics, including the prevention of major incidents, prevention of environmental losses and structural integrity management.

The speakers agreed that, within the oil and gas industry, ensuring asset integrity is a primary objective as it plays a pivotal role in regards to production efficiency.

In his introduction, Fraser Weir gave a general definition of what “asset integrity” actually means saying that it is “the ability of an asset to perform its required function effectively and efficiently whilst protecting health safety and the environment”.

According to Weir, some key elements of asset integrity activities include: implementation of maintenance excellence KPIs (key performance indicators), the roll-out of new operating procedures, leadership guide, maintaining or decommissioning, etc.

In the second presentation at the session, van Merrienboer noted that new approaches and strategies are needed for a better integrity management to ensure that the people, systems, processes and resources will perform when required over the whole lifecycle of the offshore installation.

TAQA Europe, in cooperation with partners, developed a new “risk-based structural integrity management” using natural frequency response monitoring (NFRM) and a probabilistic computed approach of fatigue analyses, van Merrienboer said, adding that a joint industry project on the new risk-based approach will be further developed by a pilot on some marine platforms.

“Part of the pilot phase is the development of computer simulations to correlate the natural frequency responses to stability loss. By this continuous NFRM could be an alternative to the cost consuming (preventive) inspections of the marine platform structures, while a better safety performance will be achieved,” according to van Merrienboer.

Following this speech, the session continued with a presentation by Jens Ulfkjær of DNV GL who talked about “probabilistic inspection planning” of offshore steel structures.

Ulfkjær noted that, during the last few years, DNV GL had performed a joint industry project on establishing probabilistic methods for planning in-service inspection for fatigue cracks in offshore structures.

His presentation included topics regarding fatigue strength, the  probability of failure, risk ranking, inspection methods, etc.

One of the most interesting moments of the session was when Onno Jansen asked the participants during his presentation, the final one of the session, to get closer to the middle of the conference room while he was dressing in a special safety suit. He was trying to point out how teamwork and proper gear are one of the most important elements for safety on offshore platforms.

During his presentation, Jansen, among others topics, discussed the treatment of aging assets and improving worker efficiency.

It is all about people, Jansen said during his presentation. “If a team does not work – the individuals cannot work as a team,” he added citing the Dutch football legend Johan Cruijff.

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