31 January 2012
Scandpower and ModuSpec, a sister company in the Lloyd’s Register Group, are working with leading owners and operators in the oil and gas sector to improve current methods of monitoring the performance of blow-out preventers (BOP) and reduce the risks relating to one of the industry’s most safety-critical pieces of equipment.
Scandpower and ModuSpec are pooling their resources with industry to develop a ‘BOP Monitor’ that is expected to significantly improve current processes of assessing risk during operations. The monitor will be a new application for Scandpower’s proprietary RiskSpectrum© software, which has already proved its value at one-half of the world’s nuclear power plants.
“The BOP is a critical component in any hydrocarbon drilling operation and is often the final line of defence for protecting life and the environment. So there is high demand for a transparent and well-structured risk assessment approach that helps owners and operators to monitor the BOP’s performance,” says Duco de Haan, CEO of ModuSpec. “Because ModuSpec has been a global leader in helping to ensure the reliability of drilling assets for more than 25 years, we recognise the importance of industry participation in developing a product of this calibre.”
BOPs were thrust into the public spotlight last year due to their role in the Macondo well disaster in the US Gulf of Mexico. De Haan says current BOP risk assessments lack a consistent structure. As a result, decisions on whether or not to pull them for inspection and maintenance can be subjective and difficult to understand, particularly for senior management and regulatory bodies.
The BOP Monitor will be unique in that the risk assessments used to populate the data for the model will be performed in advance by a team of BOP operational experts with the required documentation and drawings at their disposal.
As the risk assessments will be completed in a controlled setting using proven methodology from Scandpower, their quality will most certainly exceed those of ad-hoc risk assessments.
“We are breaking new ground in assessing risk by developing the BOP Monitor,” says Bjørn Inge Bakken, CEO of Scandpower. “What will make this risk model so valuable is the quality of the data used to carry out the assessments in combination with the immediacy with which the results are received. The ability to define the operational risk level of a BOP in ‘real time’, including the identification of faulty components, will be of great benefit to the industry and society as a whole.”
Because risk assessments will be completed in advance and embedded in the BOP Monitor, rig owners, operators and regulators will receive advice on the BOP within hours, helping them to make informed decisions on whether or not to continue operations.
The monitor is currently being designed to model BOPs from two manufacturers, with additional designs to follow, including conventional and multiplex.