A group of International Oil and Gas Producer (IOGP) members have established the Normally Unattended Facilities (NUF) Task Force aimed to position NUF as safe, cost-effective, widely accepted design and operating method for oil & gas facilities. The establishment of the Task Force was driven by the need to standardize, expand the NUF concept to all type of facilities and ensure industry wide acceptance of NUF standardization. To meet these objectives, the Task Force has produced a white paper to outline the design principles, anticipated challenges and enablers to allow for the implementation of a standard NUF design.

NUF will enable oil and gas facilities to be remotely operated in a safe and reliable manner with no crew visitation for determined periods of time. However, this requires a change in the approach to designing, constructing, operating, and maintaining the facility. The NUF Task Force focused on cost compression, unattended duration and sustainability through reduced carbon emissions as key objectives in NUF design optimization. The proposed NUF design will reduce carbon emissions through high reliability, low emission equipment selection and reduction of marine vessels utilization. Technology advancement will allow for lean design, remote control and analysis to efficiently and effectively plan maintenance and optimize operations. Brownfield quick wins will provide avenue for technology maturity, drive for higher reliability and improving overall asset performance. These help in shifting the mindset of personnel involved. Change management is required for governance & procedural changes whilst human retooling will be required for the new skillsets.

The main value drivers that support NUF implementation include but, are not limited to, the anticipated reduction in HSE risk exposure to personnel, a substantial reduction in CAPEX and OPEX, and lower greenhouse gases, with reliability better than or equal to attended facilities. Some standards and regulations may need to be revised to enable NUF application. At present, this is being investigated by IOGP under JIP39.

NUF concepts can be applied to any facility (onshore and offshore) and will be greatly facilitated by some level of standardization. This would create economies of scale for both the qualification and fabrication of equipment and sub-systems.

Substantial potential value drivers supporting the move to a standard NUF approach:

  • HSE Risk reduction due to elimination of personnel during normal operations

  • Potential 20-30% CAPEX reduction in facility cost

  • Potential 20-30% OPEX reduction in operating and logistics expenses

  • Reliability better than or equal to attended facilities

  • Green House Gases (GHG) footprint improvement

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