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DNV seeks recertification of well-control equipment

Posted on 15 April 2010

In its quest for an even safer upstream oil & gas industry, certification body  DNV wants recertification of blow out preventers and other well pressure control equipment used for drilling, completion, workover and well intervention operations to be carried out every five year minimum.

Speaking at the IADC Well Control Europe 2010 conference & exhibition in Aberdeen, Ove Egil Kleivenes of DNV Energy said recertification of well control equipment had become a necessity.

He told his audience that the bottom line was safety and that such a process would only work if it was thorough and penetrated the relevant supply chains.

“The purpose of a recertification process is to verify and document that the equipment condition and properties are within the specified acceptance criteria as well as the specified recognized codes and standards,” said Kleivenes. “The recertification shall ensure that documentation of the condition of the equipment is available.”

However, whilst talking from a Norwegian standpoint, Mr Kleivenes acknowledged that different national petroleum safety authorities might take a different view and require different recertification intervals and scope.

Reeling off a comprehensive list, he said that all equipment used to control well pressure during drilling, well testing, completion, workover, and well intervention activities should be subject to a recertification regime.

That said, he suggested too that equipment to be included in the well barrier envelope and recertification scope should be defined between the various contract parties involved.

Mr Kleivenes pointed out that any malfunction of well control equipment potentially poses a serious threat against personnel, installations, and environment and that, quite clearly, criteria as to what is or is not acceptable have to be agreed.

He advocated that acceptance criteria should “give confidence” with regard to margins to failure and that the basis for acceptance criteria must be documented.

Moreover, the acceptance criteria must be based on the updated original design and engineering documentation, as well as the latest version of selected and recognized codes and standards. And, if two standards are considered, the standard with the strictest requirements should prevail.

If the equipment is built according to standards and codes which are no longer valid, the gap between regulations, standards and codes used originally and current regulations, standards and codes must be identified.

Additionally, for all equipment, an NDT plan with acceptance criteria should be prepared to cover both fabrication and operational defects such as fatigue, corrosion and erosion.

Turning to the issue of paper trails, Mr Kleivenes said: “Experience has shown that equipment often has insufficient or lack of documentation. This may cause a quite significant scope of work in order to verify compliance with the recertification requirements.

“The objective is to ensure the same documented quality and safety of the equipment as achieved through normal recertification. If relevant design specification is missing or cannot be made available, the equipment concerned cannot be recertified.”

Mr Kleivenes emphasized that all critical components had to be traceable to material certificates, with reference to specific heat number or heat treat lot.

“Traceability shall be documented. Lack of traceability for critical components will require replacement if other means to prove fitness for purpose fails,” he added.

2 Comments For This Post

  1. Fred Foreman Says:

    I have a question to Kleivenes.

    I teach well control equipment classes for BP and Chevron and would like more information. Recertify by whom and to what standards? How is this different to a Major Survey, or are you refering to a major survey (which Norway also says should be performed every 5-years)

    I also believe that throwing around the words certify and re-certify without additional information is very ambiguous and a disservice to the industry.

  2. Norwegian Says:

    Fred, When the equipment is produced you certify it, and after it was used for some period (5 year in this article) you re-certify it.
    This is how it is done in Norway, and probably the same process to be performed in US after Deep Water Horizon. Not sure about that.

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