Cross-Industry Hydrocarbon-Release Analysis
- Dennis Denney (JPT Senior Technology Editor)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- August 2012
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 113 - 116
- 2012. Society of Petroleum Engineers
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- 31 since 2007
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This article, written by Senior Technology Editor Dennis Denney, contains highlights of paper SPE 145449, "Cross-Industry Hydrocarbon-Release Analysis," by Amy Li, Oil & Gas UK, prepared for the 2011 SPE Offshore Europe Oil and Gas Conference and Exhibition, Aberdeen, 6-8 September. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
An analysis was made of hydrocarbon releases (HCRs) occurring on the UK continental shelf (UKCS) during the period of 2008 through October 2010. The analysis included the type of hydrocarbon released, operating mode during which a release occurred, release site, age of installation, type of installation [manned or unmanned; floating production, storage, and offloading vessel (FPSO); floating production facility (FPF); or fixed installation], and the underlying cause of the release. This study aimed to assist the industry in identifying where it can best place its resources to reduce the number of HCRs.
HCRs are potential precursors to major accidents, with the 2010 Gulf of Mexico incident being a tragic reminder of that potential. Also, the number of HCRs is a performance indicator of asset-integrity management of the offshore installations. Since the creation of Step Change in Safety (UK offshore-safety initiative) in 1997, there has been a 52% reduction in major and significant HCRs. Industry-wide workshops, sharing of best practices on asset integrity, and development and use of toolkits and guidance documents led to an early period of sustained year-on-year reductions in the number of major and significant HCRs. In spite of sustained efforts in recent years, progress appears to have stalled. The total number of HCRs per year has fluctuated between 155 and 190 in the past 5 years, while major and significant HCRs have remained in the range of 60 to 85 per year during the past 7 years. The offshore oil and gas industry is not complacent, and at the end of 2010, Step Change in Safety published a revised HCR-reduction target. The UK offshore oil and gas industry, as a whole, agreed on a target of 50% reduction of HCRs by the end of March 2013 vs. the 2009–10 total HCRs of 187. The challenge for the UK offshore industry is to decide where to focus its effort to reduce the number of HCRs and to achieve its revised target.
Most of the information was extracted from the HCR root-cause-analysis exercise conducted by the Step Change in Safety Asset Integrity Steering Group at the end of 2010. Twenty duty holders supplied their HCR information for the period of 2008 through October 2010. Information on 474 HCRs was collected, and some duty holders also submitted information on leaks that were below the reportable criteria.
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