A Marine Simulator was developed for the Jack-St. Malo field located in approximately 7000 feet of water in the Gulf of Mexico Walker Ridge block. The simulator presented operational information in a form similar to that on the actual facility and provided operational personnel with extensive operational experience and training on scenarios as may be faced in the actual facility, prior to and subsequent to facility start-up.
The design of the ballast system for this Semi-Submersible Floating Production Unit (FPU) called for a comprehensive training procedure as an added operational safety measure for the marine operators. The Jack-St. Malo Marine Simulator utilizes process and safety control configurations that are the same as the facility. It includes a Load Management system and an Environment and Facilities Monitoring System (EFMS) integrated with a high fidelity dynamic model for the hull ballast and bilge systems.
The simulator proved to be an effective tool to perform Control System checkout during pre-commissioning. Lifts for production, generation and compression modules were first tested on the Marine Simulator before actual lifts were conducted in the yard. Naval architects were consulted to verify anticipated ballasting operations before actual operations. The simulator gave operators a feel of the Process Dynamics, Process Control, and Safety System and familiarity with the Operator Station graphics well before start up. The simulator was successfully used as a dummy platform along with the Load Management Advisory Program to demonstrate the ballast procedure for the successive installation of three heavy modules onboard the actual platform. Scenarios simulated include hurricane shutdown and start-up, instrument failures, damaged mooring line situations and damaged compartment scenarios due to collision or inadvertent flooding, among many others.
Operator training to operate Jack-St. Malo ballast and bilge systems using facility Operator graphics and control system was thoroughly carried out using this Simulator and this contributed to the high level of confidence in hull commissioning operations including lifts and ballasting operations. The simulator was a useful tool for validating Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) before actual facility start-up.