By Alex Endress, Editorial Coordinator
The IADC Drilling Control Systems (DCS) Subcommittee, which operates under the IADC Advanced Rig Technology (ART) Committee, has published the IADC Drilling Control System Alarm Management Guidelines. “The guidelines provide a baseline of recommendations for best practices on how drilling contractors can approach alarm management and drilling control systems,” said Christopher Goetz, Partner at Kingston Systems. Mr Goetz serves on a working group of subcommittee members that is leading development of the guidelines.
The guidelines focus on how companies can form alarm management philosophies specific to their rigs’ needs, which can be affected by rig age and technological specifications. The DCS Subcommittee used existing alarm management standards from other industries to create the guidelines specific to the drilling industry. These included the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) YA-711, the Engineering Equipment & Materials User Association (EEMUA) 191, and the combined standard from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the International Society of Automation (ISA), or ANSI/ISA 18.2. IADC also considered alarm management approaches from the refining, nuclear, automotive and aviation industries, as well as approaches already taken by some drilling contractors.
“The guidelines are a step in the right direction to improve how the drilling industry’s alarm systems work and how they can directly reduce lost time incident rates,” Mr Goetz said.
The DCS Subcommittee is now assessing and prioritizing the need to continue work on the alarm management guidelines. A second version would most likely incorporate additional details on how drilling contractors can carry out an alarm rationalization process. This process takes drilling contractors through a review of the rig’s current alarms and evaluates the alarms against the alarm philosophy in place.
A second version would also likely look at how a rationalization process for current drilling control systems could be expanded to address future control systems. Such an expansion would involve working with vendors so that new alarms are added to a drilling control system in alignment with the alarm management philosophy already in place. “We want to think more about what kind of rationalization is practical for our current systems and how we can improve future next-gen systems,” Mr Goetz said.