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    New subsea standards in reliability and obsolescence launched

    News // November 23, 2011

    Subsea UK and the Energy Institute (EI) have published new guidelines for improving reliability and obsolescence in subsea systems.

    The guidelines provide a framework for reliability assessment and use of field data as well as the management of obsolescence to help support continued improvements in efficiency and safety, particularly in relation to ageing assets.

    At present the industry deploys many methodologies for the determination of reliability, availability and maintenance of subsea systems. In addition, during operations, field information on actual down-time is not consistently acquired or used to develop best practice in design and maintenance to improve up-time.

    The impact of obsolescence of equipment and the implications on reliability of changing requirements throughout the life of the system are also not uniformly identified or applied. These new guidelines tackle these issues.

    Although subsea production losses are relatively low in proportion to non-subsea, the cost of failure is significantly higher. These problems are collectively being examined under the theme of system reliability.

    The EI works with industry, regulators and other key stakeholders to develop and maintain a portfolio of publications that provide good practice guidance on energy industry operations.

    Through the EIís Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee (STAC), the EI has funded and project managed the development of these guidelines culminating in its publication and availability to industry.

    Subsea UK recruited the technical expertise for the Steering Group that oversaw the development of the guidelines to ensure that the guidelines met the needs of the industry. Atkins Boreas developed the guidelines under the technical direction of the Steering Group.

    Dr Cameron Stewart, Upstream Technical Manager, Energy Institute, said: "As the oil and gas industry matures and production is more dependent on subsea systems, there is an increasing need to put in place common global guidelines to ensure the reliability of subsea systems and equipment and prevent unplanned down-time.

    "Also, by working together in this way, the industry can proactively demonstrate good practice and thus avoid the need to react to regulation."

    Neil Gordon, Chief Executive, Subsea UK, added: "For 30 years, subsea technology has delivered innovative, reliable and cost effective solutions to oil and gas exploitation opportunities. This is reflected in the rapidly growing number of fields, where sophisticated subsea technology is deployed.

    "Subsea developments have not however been fault-free. Technical failures associated with design, metallurgy, quality and operation has impacted on system availability and there is therefore significant value in eliminating these issues from the outset.

    "In order to mitigate problems, particularly on deepwater developments, common guidelines and standards are required. Unscheduled equipment failures and planned interventions must be minimised and we believe robust industry guidelines such as these will increase the reliability of subsea hardware and associated systems.í

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