Safety 4.0 project

Safety demonstration framework for novel subsea solutions

Making use of the Safety 4.0 framework to enable the safe adoption of cost-efficient novel subsea technologies.

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.

The Safety 4.0 JIP has been a great arena for sharing of knowledge and challenges, and for creating and maintaining valuable social relations within the industry

  • Øyvind Rokne
  • ,
  • TechnipFMC

A close dialogue amongst stakeholders and standardization at the right level are enablers for the development of a healthy implementation strategy for ‘Subsea All-electric’. Safety 4.0 has successfully acted as a platform to mature requirements and high-level design across suppliers, operators and authorities resolving common challenges independent from competition.

  • Daniel Abicht
  • ,
  • Equinor

The benefits

Using the framework will provide industry stakeholders with an alternative argumentation strategy to demonstrate that novel solutions meet the intent of regulations and are fit for purpose.  The framework could make it possible to adopt solutions that are cheaper to deploy and operate while being just as safe as existing solutions. 

The Safety 4.0 framework guidelines provide a high-level overview of the safety demonstration process, including various activities and stakeholder involvement. It also gives advice on how to achieve an efficient safety demonstration process by identifying and focusing on the particular novelties of the activities and solutions. The approach also supports effective safety demonstration, that is, it ensures that conclusions are robust by providing practical guidance on the construction of safety arguments and treatment of uncertainties and assumptions throughout the safety demonstration process.  

In addition to the guidelines, a textbook and lecture course are being developed. Besides its  deliverables, the project has also improved communication between industry and authorities and contributed to the potential realization of the use of new technologies and solutions in future projects.