Operations at Mobile Offshore Drilling Units (MODUs), deployed for exploration and exploitation of oil and gas in offshore area, are more hazardous and complex in nature due to intricate engineered systems & hostile marine environment and ultimate safety goal is safety of life, installations and environment. A systematic and proactive approach towards safety is of paramount importance for efficient and cost effective operations at MODUs. "Safety Case" is a documentary proof, which is to be submitted by the operator to the Regulatory Bodies to demonstrate that the hazards associated with the operations are identified and adequate resources are in place to control and mitigate those hazards. In India, Offshore Safety Legislation, which is an offshoot of the Lord Cullen's Enquiry Report recommendations on Piper Alpha Disaster, is in final draft stage and it has been written in goal setting terms for safety of life & installations in offshore oil & gas fields of India.

"Safety Case" means a document prepared by an operator to demonstrate that the hazards in the offshore installation have been identified, risks assessed and the adequate resources and the control measures are in place for safe operations. It mainly includes:

  • Description of MODU's facilities

  • Formal Safety Assessment (FSA)

  • Safety Management System (SMS)

Safety Case ensures that:

  • All hazards associated with MODU's operations with potential to cause major accidents have been identified and their risks evaluated.

  • Adequate measures are taken to reduce risk to as low as reasonably practicable (ALARP).

  • Management system is in place to ensure compliance with statutory requirements.

  • Adequate resources are onboard MODU to control and mitigate the identified hazards.

  • There is a system for audit and audit reporting.

Further this system will also facilitate the operators of MODUs for compliance to forthcoming "International Safety Management (ISM) Code" which will be effective from July 2002 for all self propelled MODUs.

This paper discusses the elements of Safety Case, major hazards, development of SMS & documentation requirements for MODUs in view of forthcoming ISM Code.

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