Integrity, compliance and specialist risk consulting services group Lloyd’s Register has launched a new service for the energy industry.
Called Risk-based Inspection (RBI), it enhances the traditional periodic approach to inspection planning and helps to achieve higher reliability and a longer operating time; minimising downtime and reducing risk. The new service is expected to be of interest to operators of floating units at a fixed location, such as FPSO and FLNG vessels.
“RBI techniques may be used to provide justification for the assignment of Class, and may be systematically applied to a hull structure and associated components or to individual systems, sub-systems or components,” says Tim Walsh, COO of Assurance Services for Lloyd’s Register.
RBI detects and monitors systems, subsystems, equipment and component degradation and results in the application of appropriate decision making criteria to manage risk to acceptable levels. To carry out a successful RBI program, Lloyd’s Register highlights that certain tasks need to be performed.
“The most common deterioration mechanisms associated with hull structure components can range from coating failures, through to fatigue and stress built in to the structure during construction,” says Walsh. “RBI can help assess all of these issues and prioritise inspection needs.”
Walsh continues, “The key to understanding how classification, verification and integrity fit together is in understanding what differences there are between integrity management and classification schemes. We have investigated this in detail and have launched this new service because these two schemes can be integrated, and the overall result will optimise survey and inspection activities.”
The introduction of an RBI approach aligns the requirements for Class, verification and hull integrity management into a single survey and inspection programme.
“While the marine industry focuses on Class, the oil and gas industry applies asset integrity management and more often than not, a risk-based approach,” highlights Walsh. “To overcome this disparity in maintenance and management regimes there is a requirement of the Class societies to understand and appreciate what the FOI operators need and conversely the FOI operators need to understand what Class ‘does’. We are leading this approach for industry.”
The new RBI service from Lloyd’s Register enables the operator to develop a survey and inspection regime which is based on the current and expected future condition of the unit.
Rebecca Allison, Product Development Manager, Asset Integrity Services at Lloyd’s Register explains, “Class gives operators a common standard set to a maximum risk level however, risk is very much dependant on where the unit is located and not just build standards. When adopting an RBI approach, it must be taken into consideration that units located in different regions will perform in a very different way. Site specific assessments and environmental factors must be taken into account.”
Operators need to consider when to implement RBI – whether it’s at the design stage or part way through life – experts endorse the earlier the better. Implementing at the design stage means that the RBI programme is tailored to the asset. Risk-based design can help build a more robust structure, and at this stage the design can also be modified around the risk based inspection regime.