Major accident prevention and production reliability are among the top priorities for upstream oil and gas operations. Effective Integrity Management (IM) is a fundamental requirement for achieving these objectives. For large and aged production infrastructures, substantial people and money resources are required for effective IM, in addition to practical implementation strategies and tactics. Observations on implementing IM for large infrastructures are described based on the author's experiences with offshore production operations in Egypt, Trinidad and Indonesia.
The observations start with development of IM strategies aligned to the business and the deployment of risk based evaluation tools to set priorities and implementation targets. Experiences defining execution tactics which fully consider people and money resource limitations, competing business objectives and activities, contracting requirements, materials limitations and logistics constraints are noted. Organizational aspects and interfaces are discussed, as are important aspects of safety management, planning, scheduling and implementation tracking using ever-evolving key performance indicators (KPIs). Finally, the role of regular status reviews and external audits are noted with respect to continuous improvement of IM programs.
Safe and reliable production is a cornerstone to efficient and profitable oil and gas production operations. Management and prevention of unwanted incidents is essential to achieve this desired safety and reliability. In particular, major accidents involving hydrocarbon events can be particularly damaging with respect to people, the environment and the business. Unfortunately, the industry has experienced major incidents through the years and common logic dictates that prevention of such events is worth considerable resource investment. That being said, a systematic approach to accident prevention ensures maximum benefit is obtained for this investment.
Integrity Management (IM) is an essential contributor to major accident prevention. Integrity can be defined as a state of soundness or completeness. Usage of the term in the upstream oil industry is often with respect to process plant and associated production facilities. But more comprehensivly IM includes not only equipment, but the people who interact with these and the processes / procedures they use. Effective IM uses a management system that ensures production plant, people and process are fit for purpose and that risks are managed to the lowest practical level. IM in oil and gas production operations is not new, but has certainly developed and matured with the industry.
Although IM practices are core to the industry and generally follow common principals, implementation can be especially challenging for large assets. This is because ability to manage integrity is often constrained by people / money lmitations, access due to competing activities, logistics (particularly when offshore), contractor capabilities, materials availability and other issues. In addition, risk profiles across large assets are not necessarily uniform, e.g., achieving the lowest practical risk state may require uneven application of resources. Therefore, effective IM of large production infrastructures is considerably more complex than the sum of IM for the individual components. What follows is a description of practical issues encounted managing IM for large assets, tools deployed to understand the issues, management strategies, execution tactics and lessons learned.