If you’re a health, safety and environment (HSE) manager in oil and gas, one of your biggest challenges is that degradation and weakening of safety barriers can go undetected. Here’s a look at how the latest technologies are making a difference, giving us new ways to use the quantitative risk assessment (QRA) toolbox more effectively.
Published: 7 June, 2018
Oil and gas assets typically undergo many modifications that change the risk picture. This means that HSE and Asset managers are regularly having to answer the following questions:
- Is the asset (still) safe?
- How should the asset be operated (i.e. how should processes be controlled and activities scheduled and coordinated) to ensure that it remains safe while production is optimized?
The former relies on diagnosis of the current condition of the asset, while the latter relies on forecasts of the consequences of various decision options.
Leveraging data from your QRA
Quantitative risk assessments are a key input in helping operators evaluate the safety of activities and systems while optimizing production.
However, too often critical data generated in QRA studies are not handed over from projects to operations and are inaccessible. This missed opportunity means that HSE managers, asset managers and offshore installation managers (OIMs) may fail to reap the significant benefits this valuable data can provide.
Historically, diagnosis of an asset’s condition is primarily based on inspections and on testing of safety equipment. The challenge has been that important changes, such as degradation or weakening of safety barriers, remained largely undetected – at least outside inspection intervals.
In addition, the failure frequencies used in risk assessments and as input for planning inspections, tests and maintenance, are typically based on generic failure databases, which do not account for the actual operating conditions of a particular asset.
Real-time decision making
What we hear is that HSE and asset managers need more dynamic risk assessment to support their operational decision-making activities.
This is an area where digital technologies can play an important role in enhancing safety practices and improving hazard management. Our MyQRA application, for example, helps you become more effective and transparent in risk communication across all levels of your organization, as well as between multiple parties involved in projects and operations.
MyQRA leverages all the data generated in a traditional QRA in an accessible, 3D online format showing hazards in a way that can be understood by all project stakeholders. The outcome is better decision support and simpler and easier risk communication in all phases of an asset’s life cycle.