Offshore installations treat flammable and toxic substances and are characterized by limited and congested spaces, where hazardous situations may lead to accidents that can severely affect both human health and environment. It is crucial, then, to model the harmful effects of a hazardous event, to design safeguards and countermeasures. Guaranteeing at the same time the realistic representation of the major physical phenomena and a computational effort compatible with the early design time schedule is the challenge. In the SEADOG laboratory at Politecnico di Torino, an innovative two-step model, which uses CFD tools, is being developed to deal with the release of a flammable gas from a pressurized storage. The proposed modelling of the accident consequences and, in particular, the dispersion model of the flammable cloud is one of the inputs for the design of structures, layout and gas monitoring system, the latter able to provide early warning for a gas leakage to prevent the occurrence of a harmful condition or its escalation.
As the modeling task is being accomplished, a parallel experimental setup is being developed in order to validate the results, considerations and indications derived from the paperwork. A mock-up of a real Oil&Gas platform is being designed and the proper experimental environment is being studied in order to reproduce real life offshore conditions. Fluid-dynamic problems inside the space dedicated to host the mock up are addressed to obtain a wind tunnel-like setting. The experiments themselves, which involve controlled releases of air and gas mixtures, have to be designed accurately as well as the sensors network. The paper proposes the progress of the experimental setup, highlighting the faceted and challenging design issues related to the final desired outcome: the validation of numerical models and results, in order to obtain performant tools for guaranteeing offshore safety.
The Italian Ministry of Economic Development supports research projects concerning Oil&Gas offshore safety assessment in agreement with the adoption the 2013/30/EU Directive. In this framework, the SEADOG (Safety and Environmental Analysis Division for Oil&Gas) laboratory was founded at Politecnico di Torino with the mission of assessing safety issues in offshore installations. The approach is multidisciplinary and it focuses on design choices on offshore platforms that treat flammable and toxic substances and are characterized by limited and congested spaces, where hazardous situations may lead to accidents that can severely affect both human health and environment.