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TRENDS Report Summary

Project ID: 11745
Funded under: FP5-EESD
Country: United Kingdom

Quality and reliability (WP3)

Main findings:
This Work Package includes the important topics of quality management, and reliability both during the design and manufacture stage and in operations, together with supporting information on codes and standards. Several priority topics in the quality and reliability field were identified at an early stage for more detailed evaluation. These included quality management, risk assessment, understanding of failure and failure data, quality & reliability of new technologies, ageing plant and lifetime extension. The last two have been addressed separately, via WP8b (quality & reliability of new technologies) and via workshops on risk and ageing plant.

Quality management (QM) is recognised as a mandatory requirement in the oil and gas industry for organisations and projects. The quality management systems, associated with environment and safety are generally well developed, according to a set of internationally accepted standards, such as ISO 9000, ISO 14000, and OHSAS 18000. However there are many commonalities between the referenced standards which are inviting to be integrated. There is also now a new ISO QM technical specification (29001), developed specifically for the oil and gas industry, which is now approved and is being implemented.

Reliability is of major importance for the oil and gas industry, especially in the offshore sub-sea sector in which the cost of interventions to repair or replace critical failures of components or sub-systems is very high. The magnitude of the intervention costs usually makes a reliability improvement strategy a much more effective than a maintainability improvement strategy. It is clear that the projects of highest risk are Product Development or Field Development projects containing a significant proportion of new technology, or a significant proportion of field-proven technology being modified to operate under new environmental conditions.

These projects require some formal procedure for assuring the end customer that his requirements (functional, performance, safety, etc.) will be met in time and on budget, such as the R&M Case Document used in the Defence industry, and the New Technology Qualification Procedure defined in Trends Project WP8. Plant availability also has a significant effect on cost and maintenance requirements. Lack of reliability has significant implications for environmental protection (WP1) and health and safety (WP2). For example hydrocarbon leaks as a result of poor reliability can provide major threats to the offshore work force.

The main trends in the area of reliability in operations deal primarily with areas of inspection, component state (damage) monitoring, functional testing, maintenance and, partly life time extension. Concepts linking risks and reliability of operation include reliability cantered maintenance (RCM), risk based inspection (RBI) or risk based inspection and maintenance (RBIM, as well as the elements of structural reliability assessment (SRA).

Recommendations Quality Management:
- Prepare for system integration of quality, environmental and health and safety aspects to achieve lower costs and improve overall effectiveness of operations.
- System management and process control need to be built on a risk oriented approach.
- As many critical risks change dynamically over time, they must be monitored through indicators according to a suitable programme of measurements.
- There is a special challenge to ensure effective contributions from many partners all around the world working together on the same projects.
- A more daring and possibly more innovative measurement culture should be developed.

Recommendations for Reliability in Design:
- A risk-based R&M requirements setting tool.
- A risk-based optimization tool for reliability allocation.
- An improved tool for the identification/anticipation of failure at the design stage.
- An improved tool for addressing Common Cause Failures, which can be very expensive in redundant or spatially distributed systems.
- Development of improved physics-of-failure models for component lifetimes.
- An integrated system-level reliability prediction tool capable of incorporating the results of such component lifetime models.
- New testing methods, coupled with modelling, to bridge the gap between existing field data and new operating environments.

Recommendations for Reliability in Operations:
- Include the whole life management, the complete plant and its full life cycle.
- Proper understanding of the benefits and limitations of the various available inspection and maintenance technologies
- Include models that take into account risk reduction (reliability improvement) from maintenance actions (inspection, maintenance, testing).
- Implementation of 'on-line' condition monitoring for early prediction of failures, or validation of reliability predictions.

Reported by

United Kingdom
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