Abstract

Drilling Control Alarms Systems (DCAS) leave much to be desired. Excessive alarm volumes on Integrated Control Systems (ICS) lead to Driller alarm blindness and exceed all industry recognized standards. Additionally, most maintenance crews do not typically have a filtered prioritized list on a dedicated Human Machine Interface (HMI) consol. This results in critical alarms being ignored, maintenance crews being reactive and preventative maintenance opportunities not being taken. There is almost zero connection to user performance capabilities and enhanced interface training. Safety performance personnel do not consider alarm management in their scope of consideration in efforts to educate, train and reduce incidents.

A typical 6th generation offshore rig generates hundreds to thousands of driller alarms every day. Counts can range from 6000 to 50000+ in a seven day period. Even the best case scenario of 1 alarm per minute is deemed unacceptable by the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD now PSA) as illustrated in TABLE 1. Other recognized standards including ISA 18.2 and EEMUA 191 mirror these expectations.

Table 1

from Principles for Alarm System Design, February 2001, YA - 711, Norwegian

Alarm RateConsequence
1 alarm per minute Very Likely to be unacceptable 
1 alarm per 2 minutes Likely to be over-demanding 
1 alarm per 5 minutes Manageable 
1 alarm per 10 minutes Very likely to be acceptable 
Alarm RateConsequence
1 alarm per minute Very Likely to be unacceptable 
1 alarm per 2 minutes Likely to be over-demanding 
1 alarm per 5 minutes Manageable 
1 alarm per 10 minutes Very likely to be acceptable 

Petroleum Directorate

Several other commonly recognized complaints include:

  • Poor Prioritization

  • Unclear meaning and vague required action

  • No tie to equipment performance optimization or crew training competence

  • Absence of Alarm Management and Management of Change (MOC)

  • Underutilization of technology; wireless communication, iPad workstations, etc.

  • Lack of a clear Alarm Management Philosophy by vendors or contractors

Kingston Systems believes that there is significant unutilized value in these alarms. Value that can lead to crew training opportunities, improved preventative maintenance practices, higher safety standards, and lower operating costs. With these goals in mind, Kingston Systems has made available consulting services and web tools that can facilitate the extraction of enhanced value from the alarms that are typically ignored. We have outlined a few case studies in which our enhanced analytics tools led to cost and time savings from otherwise overlooked alarms.

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