Failure Mode Effects and Criticality Analysis (FMECA) is a very powerful tool used in high risk businesses to deliver reliability. This is a known methodology applied in aerospace, nuclear and Dynamic Positioning (DP) systems that can be translated to drilling and completion operations.

Commissioning is the transition process between construction and operation that is widely used in process plants – from onshore chemicals to offshore production installations. It is a known methodology to ensure start up and operation meet specifications.

The drilling business has applied these tools to a very limited extent. When FMECA is used it is typically applied to a single component (i.e. drawworks) not the entire rig or system. Commissioning also tends to be done at the major component level rather than as an integrated facility. As the integration of systems in the drilling process grows these tools become very pertinent to reducing risk especially as wells become more complex and costly. They are the foundation of reliability for Automated Drilling Systems. Without applying tools that can deliver reliability in a manner that is cost effective a lot of value will be lost through unnecessary downtime and failures.

Participants at the SPE Emerging Technologies Workshop May 2009 and the SPE Drilling Automation Workshop April 2010 observed that they had limited knowledge of FMECA; however, after familiarization they concluded that this is a powerful tool that must be used to establish reliability of technologies and systems. The latter workshop concluded that the industry must focus on the application of FMECA and create standards for commissioning.

This paper has been created through a team of experts compiling their knowledge and guidance to provide a knowledge base for the industry to utilize for the benefit of increased reliability and reduced risk.

These two tools, properly and efficiently applied will bring immense value to the industry in terms of reliability. Specifically their application to the control and automation of the drilling process will provide the basis for successful growth of this technology application. Without correct application of these tools, growth of technologies and automated systems in drilling will be inhibited by unacceptable levels of reliability.

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