The need for more cost-efficient solutions and increasingly challenging operating conditions call for innovative technologies. However, while the Norwegian regulations encourage innovation and mainly stipulate what should be achieved and not how, they also contain safety function design requirements which restrict the envelope of solutions. These design requirements are also reflected in Norwegian standards and guidelines referred to in the regulations.
Systems utilizing new technologies - such as “all-electric” and digital technology - may entail other types of risks and opportunities compared to traditional technologies, and their design may in some cases conflict with design requirements found in Norwegian regulations, standards and guidelines. So how can the industry take advantage of the opportunities while maintaining or improving on the level of safety achieved through the traditional solutions?
Framework for standardized, faster safety demonstration
As part of a consortium consisting of operators, suppliers, academia and the Petroleum Safety Authority (as an observer), DNV was tasked back in 2018 with developing a safety demonstration framework to enable and accelerate the safe adoption of new cost-efficient subsea solutions.
New technologies introduce new uncertainties, and these must be addressed in a robust and appropriate way. To deal with these uncertainties, the Safety 4.0 project has developed a new framework providing the industry with a unified approach to demonstrate the safety of novel technologies. It applies a systemic and uncertainty-based risk perspective, including how to deal with different types of failure, increasing complexity, and uncertain assumptions. Like the Norwegian regulations, this framework also refers to international safety standards for programmable electronic systems. However, the Safety 4.0 framework puts these standards into a wider context by highlighting their scope, value and limitations, and the areas where they are open to interpretation.