Avoiding accidents is important, especially in the petroleum industry where the outcome of a major accident can be serious harm to both people, the environment and to company property. There are requirements from the Petroleum Safety Authority [Norway] (PSAN), as well as from internal guidelines from operators on the Norwegian Continental Shelf, that barriers are established and maintained so that the probability of accident situations developing is reduced, and that harm and disadvantages are limited. Furthermore, it is required that the operators are aware of the condition of the safety barriers, i.e. if the barriers have been impaired or are non-functioning. As a result of the Macondo disaster, PSAN has identified the need to develop new tools for risk management. In addition, a questionnaire survey carried out for PSAN as a supervisory activity in 2009 revealed the need for the development of such tools, as it showed that the current risk analysis studies employed by the sector were not utilised ?as input to day-to-day decisions on installations/plants about minor modifications, maintenance and intervention activities? (Vinnem and Haugen, 2012, p. 4).
This master's thesis explores and describes how barrier management can be directly linked to operational control of major accident risk. An extensive review of literature and several interviews are performed to examine how the platform manager can use information on the state of the safety barriers as a risk control tool. The thesis describes the premises for a new risk control tool including, but not limited to, its purpose, expectations and requirements to the tool, situations of use, how information should be communicated, a description of the type of information that goes into the risk control tool, the data sources of such information and the output it provides. Moreover, interviews with two former platform managers and an executive vice president are performed to present the most important decisions the management of the platform makes where the information on barrier condition is of importance, as well as how risk considerations come into these decisions. Furthermore, existing measures, methods and tools are presented, including a method for considering the total risk on the platform against acceptance criteria for risk. Finally, based on contact with the petroleum industry and a classification society, the thesis presents how decision-making criteria can be set for the activities that are not permitted based on, amongst other, information on the state of the safety barriers.
Based on these examinations, the following suggestions are made:
? A new risk control tool should be developed with the purpose of providing decision support, including amongst other decision-making criteria and information on safety barrier condition, to situations where the management of the platform is to decide whether or not an activity can be performed.
? A new risk control tool should be focused on bridging gaps found in the industry it is intended for. A new risk control tool should thus be focused on providing decision support on a day-to-day basis to platform manager(s), as well as to onshore management on a long-term basis, during planning of activities on the installation where the information on the state of safety barriers is of importance.
? The tool itself should be a robust information surface with an interface built up like other tools used in the industry or by a specific company.
? The user(s) of the tool should be presented with; area specific information on the state of the safety barriers that are directed against major accidents, relevant indicators and information that is suitable for helping the decision-maker make a decision including, but not limited to, valve status from automatic transponders, a ?map? of the platform showing relevant information, current weather and weather forecast, operational data, operating limits and preconditions used in QRA, preconditions stipulated and risk considerations performed during the onshore planning of activities, decision-making criteria and guidance, a simulation function where the user(s) can simulate the effect a specific activity brings in time and space, and a function for considering the total risk of the platform against tolerance limits for risk.
? A new risk control tool should, as far as possible, rely on and take advantage of frequently updated and reliable information from systems already put in place by the operator.
? Efforts should be made to be able to present detailed installation specific information of the condition of the safety barriers/-systems.
? A classification of barrier elements according to their transient properties / behaviour could be developed for a risk control tool that is to be capable of capturing and showing the short-term transient behaviour (or state) of the safety barriers.
? Focus should be on technical and organisational safety barriers, which show a more short-term transient behaviour than operational barriers.
? Presented indicators should be limited to a reasonable number, fit the purpose of the risk control tool, and be recognizable for decision-makers and fitting to the installation.
Institutt for marin teknikk , 2013. , 140 p.