Industry has recognised the value of failure mode analysis, which is being used on a rapidly expanding scale, to minimise risk, increase the probability of success and target product development spend to optimise life cycle costs for new technology, especially when applied to upstream projects. This paper illustrates best practice in failure mode analysis for oil and gas projects, by using recent case studies addressing intelligent well completions, and sand control including expandable technologies. The paper explores how these methods are applied to larger integrated systems, such as intelligent fields.

The paper highlights how methods originating in the defence and aerospace industries are adapted for the specific requirements of oil and gas projects, and identifying the key issues from recent project experience, namely –

  • Complete system approach

  • Functional requirements

  • Life-cycle phases

  • Traceability

  • Cost of failure

  • Directly usable results that are fed back into the design, development and implementation processes.

-and it shows how the methods suit the analysis of large complex systems, including intelligent fields.

The paper shows how versatile the method is, identifying the different roles in which this type of analysis is proving valuable, namely –

  • Business case – feasibility study of development options

  • Design optimization

  • Qualification

  • Reliability improvement

  • Vendor pre-selection

… and it shows how the method can be used to step beyond supply-chain conflicts and avoid commercial issues distracting from productive technical progress.

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