IADC, regulators collaborate to promote dialogue on asset integrity challenges

Posted on 17 May 2009

From the president

In December 2007, the International Regulators Forum (IRF) convened in Miami, Fla., to focus attention on asset management and safety in the offshore industry. As a representative of the drilling industry, IADC invited IRF to further publicize their views on this important issue by publishing a series of articles in Drilling Contractor.

IRF selected four of its members to prepare articles for the series: the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE); the Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA), Norway; the State Supervision of Mines (SSM), the Netherlands; and the National Offshore Petroleum Safety Authority (NOPSA), Australia.

The UK HSE kicked off the series in our May/June 2008 issue by urging senior management to increase their focus on major hazard control and to create a culture where good practice and lessons can be shared and sustained. The HSE’s three-year KP3 inspection program had found, for example, that the role of asset integrity was not well understood across the industry. Their study also concluded that while primary structural integrity is reasonably well controlled, the condition of hardware integrity varied widely.

“Managing continuous improvement, like managing risk, needs to be formalised if it is to be effective,” the UK regulator urged.

In the September/October 2008 issue of Drilling Contractor, the PSA and HSE discussed aging offshore installations and the process for life extension. While these two regulators had taken slightly different approaches to the task, their objectives were the same: to ensure that aging facilities are robust and that their safety does not differ from that of younger units.

Both regulators also agreed that industry practice must be developed for the structural integrity management of aging installations and their deterioration. The HSE has initiated this work and plans to announce their results in 2009. The PSA is also working on a draft NORSOK standard for assessment of life extension that will be published this year.

Then in the November/December 2008 issue, NOPSA presented findings from an ongoing national program of inspections. Their data indicated that fewer than half of the facilities inspected fully met the good practice expectations in facility integrity management of topside hydrocarbon process related equipment. Proven management techniques already exist, they pointed out, but operators must be more rigorous in their implementation.

In closing the series in the March/April 2009 issue, the SSM emphasized the sense of urgency pervading asset integrity. Their survey of stakeholders in the Dutch sector found that inherently safe designs are not being uniformly applied and that full risk analyses may not be getting sufficient time and resources. Stakeholders – rig owners, classification societies, operators and service providers – must not only determine their own responsibility but also share the responsibility among stakeholders. “That is the key in assuring asset integrity of MODUs,” they said.

All four of these presentations are now available in a publication issued by IADC. It will serve to further promote interest, discussion, dialogue and action in addressing the variety of concerns expressed by the regulatory authorities.

To get your complimentary copy of “Asset Integrity: Regulatory Perspectives,” contact Amanda Lemmond, IADC operations group assistant, at +1/713-292-1945 or amanda.lemmond@iadc.org.

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