Real-Time Risk Management key topic at UTC

Advanced subsea solutions challenge the operating and maintenance systems of today. Real-Time Risk Management will be a key topic at this year's conference.

Published: 6 May 2013

Oil companies are putting pressure on the industry to bring down operating and maintenance costs at the same time as technical complexity increases and more stringent safety requirements are being introduced. This presents new challenges in terms of operation, but also brings opportunities for further development of operating methods combining a safe approach with low costs.

Oil and gas production is being moved to the seabed at an escalating rate, and the plan is for the first "subsea factories" to be in operation from 2020. The challenge is that operational personnel and technical inspectors cannot follow.

- First of all, this will require subsea design of the highest quality. Then there will be a need for extensive monitoring of a countless number of components and functions. Such complex monitoring will require new decision support methods to ensure correct incident management as well as maintenance planning. Good decisions are based on documented experience and up-to-date information, including real-time data, says Magne Husebø, Technology Director at Christian Michelsen Research AS.

CMR Instrumentation, represented by Husebø, focuses on R&D in the area of industrial measurement technique. Husebø is also on the Program Committee for the Underwater Technology Conference 2013.

Real-Time Risk Management

Technical safety is not a new challenge for the subsea industry, nor is the use of sensors for monitoring. However, as complexity increases so do the costs. Safety is an important parameter in the decision-making and planning process, but profit levels have to be maintained.

- To deal with this complex situation, CMR has, in collaboration with partners in the newly established UPTIME Centre of Competence AS, adopted the concept Real-Time Risk Management (RTRM) which today is used in the IT industry, energy sector and stock market. Equally with the stock market and energy sector, subsea installations depend on systems providing continuous and effective assessment of potential non-conformances and threats in real-time, says Husebø.

Consequently, new sensors for logical fault-finding processes are required. This is particularly important for technical integrity in process equipment and pipelines. At platforms, the monitoring of technical integrity is conducted by technical inspectors, and often with advanced mobile measuring equipment.

- On the seabed, this is a challenge. Permanently installed sensor systems will have to provide information on process equipment and pipeline degradation due to corrosion, fatigue and other wear factors. An alternative is to replace components "to be completely sure", but this is costly and money is often wasted on decisions not based on facts, says Husebø.

Real-time data and experience

The backbone of the Real-Time Risk Management strategy is real-time data from sensors, which, in combination with historical data and modern maintenance methods as well as experience and expertise, will define the installation's current operating status and maintenance requirements. Decision support systems evaluating non-uniform data are an important element of Real-Time Risk Management.

- The development of visualisation systems as decision support tools is exciting, says Husebø, and refers to his colleagues at CMR Computing who are at the forefront in this field.

- High-quality visualisation systems are intuitive tools where the cause-effect relationship is easily identified, Husebø explains.

Further development essential

Real-Time Risk Management for subsea installations is a concept in the making, but major parts of the infrastructure required are already in place and a number of technical measurement solutions are under development. Christan Michelsen Research draws on a pool of expertise comprising companies specialising in sensor technology, decision support and visualisation, mechanical systems and modeling and risk management, and this is ideal for the development and integration of the elements necessary.

Furthermore, CMR is a host for the UPTIME Centre of Competence which is owned by over thirty different companies focusing on offshore and maritime operations and maintenance. Real-Time Risk Management is one of the main areas of R&D at the UPTIME Centre of Competence.

At UTC in June we look forward to 8 technical presentations on RTRM with contributions from all over the world on this exciting and future-orientated subject, says Husebø.

More information on this year's conference on www.utc.no.