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Special Report

Next Generation Offshore Containment and Environmental Protection Solutions Safehouse: Sealing The Deal When It Comes To Protection Temporary Access A Dangerous Place What Are The Rules? How to Protect What Needs Protecting

Sponsored by

Published by Global Business Media


II 2 G

Risk Contained. Job Done.

It's the ultimate safety barrier when it comes

We provide the whole package: pressurisation

to hot work - The SafeHouse Habitat.

systems, ventilation kits, specialist monitoring

Used by many of the world's largest energy

equipment – whatever's required to ensure your

operators and contractors to create a safe and

hot work is performed safely. And from your very

efficient working environment.

first call you can enjoy full technical support from

• Eliminating the costs and safety implications of

our team of experienced SafeHouse professionals. The SafeHouse Habitat - strong, reliable, adaptable

operational shutdowns. • Engineered for use in the most extreme conditions.

and cost-effective, it's the only ATEX accredited

• Capable of deployment in the most inaccessible

system of its kind.

areas on or off-shore.

Hot work? You're covered. SafeHouse.

www.safehouseltd.com


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION OFFSHORE CONTAINMENT AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION SOLUTIONS

SPECIAL REPORT

Next Generation Offshore Containment and Environmental Protection Solutions Safehouse: Sealing The Deal When It Comes To Protection

Contents

Temporary Access A Dangerous Place What Are The Rules? How to Protect What Needs Protecting

Foreword

2

John Hancock, Editor

Safehouse: Sealing The Deal When It Comes To Protection

3

Mike Garty, Managing Director – SafeHouse Habitats (Scotland) Limited

Step Ahead of Conventional Screening Practices Averting Need for Operational Shutdowns

Sponsored by

Published by Global Business Media

Published by Global Business Media

Potential Configurations are Virtually Limitless Risk Managed and Risk Contained

Global Business Media Limited 62 The Street Ashtead Surrey KT21 1AT United Kingdom

Temporary Access

Switchboard: +44 (0)1737 850 939 Fax: +44 (0)1737 851 952 Email: info@globalbusinessmedia.org Website: www.globalbusinessmedia.org

Maintenance and More

Publisher Kevin Bell Business Development Director Marie-Anne Brooks Editor John Hancock

John Hancock, Editor

Upgrades, Capability Extensions and Life Extensions

A Dangerous Place Known Risks and Hazards Oceans and the Weather Fire Hazard and Management Other Risks

Advertising Executives Michael McCarthy Abigail Coombes

What Are The Rules?

Production Manager Paul Davies

Regulators

The opinions and views expressed in the editorial content in this publication are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily represent the views of any organisation with which they may be associated.

10

Peter Dunwell, Correspondent

Senior Project Manager Steve Banks

For further information visit: www.globalbusinessmedia.org

8

12

John Hancock, Editor

Risk Management ATEX Who is Responsible? Site Specific

How to Protect What Needs Protecting

14

Material in advertisements and promotional features may be considered to represent the views of the advertisers and promoters. The views and opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily express the views of the Publishers or the Editor. While every care has been taken in the preparation of this publication, neither the Publishers nor the Editor are responsible for such opinions and views or for any inaccuracies in the articles.

Francis Slade, Staff Writer

© 2013. The entire contents of this publication are protected by copyright. Full details are available from the Publishers. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the copyright owner.

References 16

Cover image – Snorre B, Statoil/Harald Pettersen

Fire: the Greatest Risk Permanent Versus Temporary Risk Management A Lesson Learned the Hard Way

www.offshoretechnologyreports.com | 1


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION OFFSHORE CONTAINMENT AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION SOLUTIONS

Foreword O

ffshore oil and gas platforms and their

or location of the job, whether it is a congested

associated structures are among the largest

wellhead or in a confined space such as a void

movable structures (as opposed to buildings) on

between two modules.

earth. Their costs are similarly immense: not only

The services that undertake non-permanent

the cost of their construction but also the expenses

tasks such as maintenance, repair and upgrades,

of operating them. But, it is worth it because

are as important as the extraction industry’s own

the value of the products that they extract from

processes. Indeed, the challenge of delivering a safe

the earth is also considerable. Installations are

and effective solution on a temporary basis, maybe

sometimes described as cities on the sea; not a

using scaffolding or perhaps installing a temporary

bad description, given their size and the levels of

work place where there is not normally one, could be

activity that they sustain. But because of the range

seen as more challenging than making permanent

of those activities and the complexity of what is

structures safe.

needed to keep them going, those who service the

In this Report, we look at when temporary access

industry have had to evolve ever more sophisticated

to a usually inaccessible part of a platform might

solutions to meet the needs of an offshore sector

be required and at what stages in a platform’s life

that is constantly pushing technology and

access might be needed. We also consider the

engineering limits as well as exploiting ever more

hazards faced by platforms both from where they

challenging areas of the ocean.

are and what they do. There is also a brief overview

This Special Report opens with an article that

of safety regulation regarding fire risk in the sector,

looks at the business of containment as provided

what a safety program needs to consider, what

by SafeHouse Habitats (Scotland) Limited – the

processes can help to reduce risks and a look at

maintenance of optimum operational efficiency,

risk assessment.

whilst meeting safety objectives and environmental obligations. It details two key areas of service provision – Envirowrap and Habitat – and describes the benefits of each, regardless of the complexity

John Hancock Editor

John Hancock joined as Editor of Offshore Technology Reports in early 2012. A journalist for nearly 25 years, John has written and edited articles and papers on a range of engineering, support services and technology topics as well as for key events in the sector. Subjects have included aero-engineering, testing, aviation IT, materials engineering, weapons research, supply chain, logistics and naval engineering.

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SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION OFFSHORE CONTAINMENT AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION SOLUTIONS

Safehouse: Sealing The Deal When It Comes To Protection Mike Garty, Managing Director – SafeHouse Habitats (Scotland) Limited Containment: an operational imperative in a variety of front-line activities – offshore and onshore – in the modern-day industry. MIKE GARTY, Managing Director of international oil & gas services business SAFEHOUSE, explains how a dedicated focus upon this specialist area has served to position his business as an established partner to many of the world’s biggest operators and contractors.

You're Covered.

F

or over a decade now, SafeHouse has been in the business of containment: of delivering smarter ways to help our clients maintain optimum operational efficiency whilst meeting their safety objectives and environmental obligations. That commitment is reflected in two of our key areas of service provision: the innovative Envirowrap solution, which creates a contained working environment for scaffolding-based repair and maintenance activities, and our modular habitat system, which facilitates hot work in hazardous locations by segregating ignition sources. They serve different practical purposes, but reflect the same basic principle – control. In the case of the habitat, it’s essentially about keeping the sparks in and the gas out. With the Envirowrap, it’s about keeping the contaminants in and the weather out. With both, it comes down to familiar themes: safety and efficiency. Our products are now in everyday use around the globe, supporting the operations of many of the biggest names in the international oil and gas industry. From the North Sea to Australia, from the Caspian to China, SafeHouse products enjoy a reputation for innovation, reliability and flexibility that, we believe, sets us apart in this specialist field.

Step Ahead of Conventional Screening Practices Let me first summarise the features and attributes of Envirowrap. The most specified, quality controlled and certified product of its kind in the world, Envirowrap is first and foremost an environmental protection solution. In essence, it creates a

risk contained

Habitats. ATEXPowerTools. EnviroWrap.

temperature controlled in tropical climates

contained workspace around a scaffolding structure to hold contaminants during repair or maintenance activities, such as blasting and painting. But it also helps to enhance operational efficiency, not least by protecting any adjacent plant from contamination and serving to establish a temperate working environment for personnel who enjoy protection from the prevailing elements. An industrial grade blend of polyethylene heat retractable sheeting, made from a special blend of fractional melt resins, Envirowrap is a next generation encapsulation solution – a big step

Protect your people and your operations with SafeHouse solutions. Many of the world's largest energy operators trust our Habitiats and innovative EnviroWrap technology to create a sealed, temperature controlled workspace. Our unique spark-free ATEXPowerTools range now puts operational safety first.

www.safehouseltd.com

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SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION OFFSHORE CONTAINMENT AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION SOLUTIONS

The most specified, quality controlled and certified product of its kind in the world, Envirowrap is first and foremost an environmental protection solution

ahead of conventional screening practices which commonly feature a basic system of verticallyhung sheets held together by cable ties. In use by clients across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and China as a superior containment solution – and rapidly emerging as the industry standard – it deploys ground-breaking ‘shrink wrap’ technology to tension the material and mould it to scaffolding apparatus. Envirowrap can be installed quickly and possesses acoustic properties that help to keep noise in (our out). Further, SafeHouse ATEX certified air conditioning systems can be used in tandem with Envirowrap to control the internal working conditions for operational personnel when blasting and painting activities are being carried out in hazardous areas. As far as we are concerned, however, it’s about much more than simply providing a proven, reliable and cost-effective product. It’s a complete service – one that includes expert consultancy support and technical back-up – and even a full removal and recycling programme to help protect your environmental credentials. Its practical adaptability – Envirowrap can be used to support operations of just about any scale – is matched by the versatility of those support services. Clients can enjoy assistance with initial design, planning or costing as well as supply and installation. Like the SafeHouse habitat, deployment of Envirowrap is governed by robust operational practices – its use is supported by comprehensive procedure manuals – and we work in tandem with clients to ensure installation and operation is in line with their own safety-oriented processes and procedures. Critically, it comes with a 100% guarantee against any snow loading and wind force up to gale force seven for a period of three months from date of handover. It’s also guaranteed for the life of the product against fire and ignition. More than that, clients get a written assurance that they’re receiving original, factory-certified sheeting. It can even be provided in a variety of colours. Envirowrap manufacturer certifications include: • the quality management system ISO 9001 • t he environmental management system ISO 14001 • the occupational health and safety system EN OHSAS 18001. Beyond that, the manufacturing processes are formally audited at least three times per year, whilst Envirowrap’ s safety credentials are underpinned by a rigorous, multi-faceted programme of formal fire testing and certification. There are also annual audits of workplace locations and office administration systems to ensure continued compliance with a formal safety scheme for contractors.

4 | www.offshoretechnologyreports.com

large scale for major works

over-side in an exposed location

flexibility to overcome obstacles

Taken together, these certifications reflect a robust environment of practices, processes and procedures that ensure the best possible standards in safety, quality and environmental protection are being routinely met. They provide a backdrop of assurance for our clients as they use an advanced containment system that can deliver a diverse range of cost and operational benefits.

Averting Need for Operational Shutdowns Many of the qualities inherent in Envirowrap are also evident in the SafeHouse habitat, the only ATEX accredited system of its kind. A unique proposition, it’s one of our core offerings and the product area upon which our company was first established. It’s in common use in support of hot work activities in Zone 1 and 2 areas, effectively averting the need for operational shutdowns,


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION OFFSHORE CONTAINMENT AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION SOLUTIONS

and the cost and safety implications that those inevitably carry. The habitat is designed for virtually any application, regardless of the complexity or location of the job: whether it’s in a congested wellhead, or in a confined space such as a void between two modules. The habitat fundamentally comprises a system of fire-retardant panels which fit together over a frame to create a contained environment. Zips and fasteners connect the panels to create a sealed workspace, while a range of advanced tools and techniques maintain a positive pressure environment. Automatic gas detection and shutdown equipment is used to further mitigate risk. The habitat can be constructed over virtually any location, however congested, and can incorporate openings of various sizes to allow pipework, structural steel and other components to be included within the pressurised habitat environment. The ancillary habitat kit includes: • a specially designed air supply duct, which pressurises the habitat • an in-line air supply gas sensing module which monitors for the ingress of potentially hazardous gases (the module is ATEX approved for use in Zones 1 and 2) • a welding control module which provides failsafe shutdown of power to welding operations if required • robust ventilation techniques and safe lighting systems •a  specialist ATEX-certified air conditioning unit that supports effective operations within the habitat in extreme weather conditions.

Potential Configurations are Virtually Limitless The basic Safehouse habitat unit measures 2m x 2m x 2m. It comprises only six panels, as well as the ancillary components. The habitat can be enlarged by simply adding 2m x 2m or 2m x 1m panels to form habitats of, for example, 4m x 4m x 2m, or 3m x 2m x 4m. The possible dimensions and configurations are, therefore, virtually limitless. The basic habitat can be installed by a single technician in the space of a few hours, and be quickly up and running, with integrity

proved in accordance with our rigorous operating specifications. And unlike rigid habitats, SafeHouse habitats can be quickly dismantled and swiftly moved to another location for redeployment. In addition: • all habitat panels are interchangeable – there’s no requirement to cut or fabricate sections • the panels are manufactured from high specification, flame-retardant material that’s extremely durable • there’s no need for power or hand tools to assemble the habitat: a basic scaffold frame is all that’s required to provide suitable anchor points • all the component parts are lightweight: the heaviest element, the air lock section, weighs just 25kilos (a fully functioning habitat unit weighs around 300kilos in total). At SafeHouse, we operate to stringent operational processes and procedures that govern all activities associated with each habitat. All of our mechanical and electrical equipment is fully certified for Zones 1 and 2. Indeed the system was subjected to rigorous testing before being granted ATEX system certification. More than that, we provide skilled technical support as required from the outset to conduct surveys, install the habitat and support its operation throughout. We also provide expert training services to equip client personnel with the necessary skills and knowledge. SafeHouse certifications include: • the quality management system ISO 9001:2008 • the occupational health and safety management system OHSAS 18001:2007 • the international environmental management standard ISO 14001:2004. Safe hot work is our business. SafeHouse Strathmore House Charles Bowman Avenue Claverhouse Industrial Park Dundee, Scotland DD4 9UB Tel. +44 (0)1382 814 122 Fax +44 (0)1382 489 952 Email admindept@safehouseltd.com Website www.safehouseltd.com

Risk Contained. Job Done. The ultimate safety barrier when it comes to hot work. • Eliminating the costs and safety implications of operational shutdowns. • Engineered for use in the most extreme conditions. • Capable of deployment in the most inaccessible areas on or off-shore.

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SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION OFFSHORE CONTAINMENT AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION SOLUTIONS

Risk Managed and Risk Contained Why Encapsulation and Containment Are More Important Than You May Think

You're Covered.

Habitats. ATEXPowerTools. EnviroWrap.

There may still be a prevailing view among exploration and production companies and contractors, in both upstream and downstream facilities, that conventional enclosures – in other words, those constructed using scaffolding frames that are sheeted in and placed around a hot work (open flame) job site in a hazardous area – are adequate to manage the associated risk of an ignition source. The bottom line: they aren’t! The concept of risk assessment is all about putting appropriate risk mitigation controls in place to eliminate, or at least manage, the risks associated with the identified hazards. The use of a standard scaffold barrier doesn’t meet those standards in terms of the risks associated with an ignition source in a hazardous area. In fact, the use of scaffold barriers doesn’t manage the significant risks of ignition in a hazardous area at all. It just contains sparks. The risks of fire and explosion remain. It’s worth remembering, ‘a hazardous area is an area where hazardous gases/vapours may be present at any time’. Safety information from the industry itself shows that it continues to experience releases of hydrocarbons and hazardous products, in worst case scenarios, leading to fire and explosion.

Risk Assessment Protect your people and your operations with SafeHouse solutions. Many of the world's largest energy operators trust our Habitiats and innovative EnviroWrap technology to create a sealed, temperature controlled workspace. Our unique spark-free ATEXPowerTools range now puts operational safety first.

www.safehouseltd.com

Hot work in a hazardous area introduces an ignition source that is likely to ignite hazardous vapours present. Using the analogy of the fire triangle, introducing an ignition source in a hazardous area completes the three points of the triangle: oxygen, hazardous vapour and ignition source. A risk assessment associated with hot work tasks in a hazardous area should consider the following: • can the task be deferred until the plant is shut down? • can the hot work be eradicated through cold work methods? • if the task can’t be deferred, what mitigation controls can be applied to reduce the

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likelihood of an incident, and the residual risk that remains once controls are in place to a safe and acceptable level?

Hierarchy of Controls The Hierarchy of Controls is an industry aid that sets out risk mitigation controls and the levels of risk mitigation achieved by them. The hierarchy in summary: •E  limination. The top mitigation control for hot work in a hazardous area is not to carry out the work. It mitigates the risk completely as the hazard isn’t present. •S  ubstitution. This could take the form of substituting the hot work task with a cold work method, and therefore removing the ignition source. •E  ngineering controls. These reduce the risk of ignition by segregating the ignition source from the hazardous area. The SafeHouse pressurised habitat is an example of such a control for hot work tasks. •A  dministration. This encompasses controls such as procedures, competency and permits. Nevertheless it’s weak for hot work as it doesn’t manage the ignition source and the risk of fire and explosion remains. •P  PE. This can take the form of protective clothing and protective barriers, but is the weakest risk mitigation control as it doesn’t control the risk of ignition at all. Many of these controls are merely protection for the personnel performing the work.

Scaffold Enclosures and the Hierarchy Where does the use of a scaffold enclosure fit in the Hierarchy of Controls? The terminology for enclosures generally actually varies from country to country – they’re colourfully identified variously as habitats, humpies and elephants. Whatever you call them, scaffold enclosures when used for hot work fall into the lowest form of control. First, they don’t eliminate, mitigate or remove the ignition source from the hazardous area, as the enclosure at best


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION OFFSHORE CONTAINMENT AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION SOLUTIONS

is limited to stopping stray sparks rather than segregating the ignition source from the hazardous area. Second, its use contributes to a false sense of security that, safety-wise, all bases are covered. The use of scaffold enclosures for hot work appears to have become custom and practice in many parts of the industry, particularly the downstream sector, not because they reduce risk but simply because it’s the way it’s always been done. Those using them haven’t asked themselves the question: what happens if there’s a hydrocarbons leak while hot work is going on?

Pressurised Habitats – the Benefits So what are the risk benefits of using a pressurised habitat system? Other than deferring the work until the plant is shut down, it’s the only method of eliminating the ignition hazards associated with hot work in a hazardous area. At many operational sites, shutting down the operation or localised plant is simply not practicable. Indeed in a number of circumstances it actually increases the risk as a hydrocarbon processing plant is often deemed to be at its most vulnerable during shutdown and start up. Further, many operators don’t want the loss of revenue or deferment. So, in practical terms, the pressurised habitat solution represents a very persuasive value proposition. It provides an excellent high-quality engineering control to eliminate the risk of ignition, and ultimately fire and explosion, when carrying out hot work in a hazardous area. The habitat and ancillary equipment achieves this by creating a safe pressurised environment inside the habitat, therefore segregating the ignition sources from the hazardous area. It is proven technology that has been adopted by a number of operators worldwide to demonstrate that they’re applying the required controls in managing risk. A number of industry operators have introduced protocols in which the habitat is

identified as a control measure to use for hot work.

Flexible and Efficient Due to its flexibility, the pressurised habitat solution can be installed in most work locations, including elevated locations and ground excavations. It can even be connected to vessels for confined space entry for internal repairs involving hot work. This flexibility introduces increased efficiencies, including: • improving the work environment for workers carrying out hot work • creating an even temperature for welding • creating an environment for 24-hour working if necessary. It can be erected as quickly as a scaffold enclosure, while, together with ancillary equipment, it comes complete with industry standard certification for use in hazardous areas.

Spark Free Tools. Ideas in Action. The ATEX certified cutting and grinding tools are pneumatically powered and spark-free. Carefully developed as a new option in safe repair and maintenance work, they are manufactured to the highest standards using best-in-class materials.

www.safehouseltd.com www.offshoretechnologyreports.com | 7


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION OFFSHORE CONTAINMENT AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION SOLUTIONS

Temporary Access John Hancock, Editor

When it’s necessary to carry out work on the platform but not necessary to be there all of the time.

Given the exceptionally arduous environments (weather, movement, hazardous materials and substances) in which most platforms operate, they are subject to considerable levels of wear and tear

O

ffshore Platforms for the Oil and Gas industry (sometimes called ‘Rigs’) are built onshore (often in shipyards) and fitted in near shore environments such as the fjords of Norway and the firths of Scotland. But, having been built, platforms spend the rest of their working lives at sea, often more than a hundred miles from shore. Once located, positioned (whichever system is used) and connected to the output and distribution infrastructures, even movable platforms are unlikely to move far because of the massive expense of disconnection, moving and reconnection; not to mention the cost of lost production. As a result, all of the tasks that might need to be undertaken during the life of an oil or gas offshore platform will need to be carried out ‘in situ’. And there are quite a few projects in the life of a platform. Given the exceptionally arduous environments (weather, movement, hazardous materials and substances) in which most platforms operate, they are subject to considerable levels of wear and tear. Their condition, performance and safety can be compromised as structures and systems that worked well at the outset become progressively more worn and less effective. The only way to discover the extent of this wear and tear is to inspect the platform and, not just a cursory look from a circling supply vessel. The inspections have to be meticulous, detailed and close which often means creating temporary access to parts of the platform structure that would not usually be expected to be accessed.

Maintenance and More That same access or more will also be needed during the work that follows an inspection. Whether it is routine maintenance, maintenance in response to the condition of the platform’s structure or full repairs of defective components discovered during an inspection, there will almost certainly be a need for temporary access. The same would be true of repairs to platform components damaged as the result of an incident. No matter how good the systems and methods 8 | www.offshoretechnologyreports.com

used, there are still occasions when, usually, vessels collide with platforms or when breakage in one part of the structure causes parts to fall onto another part. Repairing platforms offshore poses some pretty significant challenges. “The effectiveness of alternative repair or rehabilitation measures on the platform capacity should be carefully considered from several standpoints. Experience has shown that repairs to tubular joints and members and foundation elements are major engineering challenges… These repairs are limited by the practicalities of what can reasonably be accomplished offshore… They call for innovative and effective engineering strategies for repairs that balance strength, stiffness, and ductility of the single component and the structure system.”1 In other words, repairs conducted offshore can be difficult and require expensive processes and support. As well as the repairs which might be regarded as exceptional, although not infrequent in offshore conditions, there is also routine maintenance. This can range from replacement of life expired or worn parts, to quite significant installation programs such as carried out by Seaweld Engineering, whose work includes, “pipework repairs and replacement, structural repairs and instrumentation breakdown maintenance.”2 In fact, according to EMC3, offshore platform maintenance activities include many tasks3… • Cleaning and blasting spider deck, main deck, cellar deck, conductor pipes, etc. • Painting, inspection and coating activities. •S  upplying, Fabricating and welding the safety net, ladders, handrails, pipes , etc. • Supplying and installing bar grating. • Splash Zone Coating Maintenance. • Boat landing component and Barge Pumper inspection and maintenance. • Supplying and installing new Fire water network including old network dismantle. • Supplying and Installing Rubber fender at boat landing. • Supplying and installing new Fire water network including old network dismantle. •C  leaning at sea bed around platform, etc. Almost all, if not all, of these tasks will require


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION OFFSHORE CONTAINMENT AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION SOLUTIONS

Offshore – western Australia

some temporary access to less accessible areas of the platform structure. Also, maintenance cannot be neglected4. As the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) puts it: “The offshore oil and gas industry in the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) is a mature production area. Much of the offshore infrastructure is at, or has exceeded, its intended design life. During the 1990s low oil prices and initiatives to reduce costs led to a reduction in the offshore workforce. This in turn led to reductions in levels of maintenance and, as a result, an overall decline in the integrity of fabric, structures, plant and systems. The harsh operating environment on the UKCS has exacerbated the rate of degradation. “… the above factors, together with two fatalities in 2002 arising directly from integrity failure issues, served to reinforce concerns that the risk of major accidents on the UK continental shelf appeared to be rising.” No matter what the challenges and difficulties, for any responsible business, commitment to and action on maintenance cannot be less than 100%.

Upgrades, Capability Extensions and Life Extensions Given the long lives of offshore platforms (often longer than was ever intended) there are more jobs to do than just inspections, maintenance and repairs – vital though those processes are for safety and efficient operation. As technology and engineering progress and as specifications are upgraded (often in the light of incidents and accidents), so operating platforms will benefit from being retro-fitted with the latest capability. Also, with the current trend to add new production facilities into old infrastructure in order to make less viable reserves economic to exploit, existing

platforms might need to be equipped to handle products that were not in their original design specification. Indeed, platforms might even be physically extended with the addition of or a link to another module in order to enable the structure to handle more of the production process. And, of course, increasing numbers of platforms are undergoing work to extend their operating life well into the 21st century in order to continue exploiting reserves that, with old technology, might have been unexploitable. Royal Dutch Shell calls the upgrade process, the application of smart technology, and it makes a difference to operations. This was made clear in a 2008 presentation, ‘Smart Fields – Intelligent Energy’5, by Malcolm Brinded, Executive Director Exploration & Production at the energy giant. “… We’ve increased compressor availability also as a result of more stable operations from about 80% to nearly 100%, again with less flaring and we’ve reduced maintenance costs by 15-20%. Although it is not particularly high tech, it is a great example of retrofitting to optimise reservoir management and facilities performance.” The final step in the life of an offshore platform is decommissioning or, sometimes, mothballing against future requirements. A platform cannot simply be abandoned but must be either removed to a place where it can be safely dismantled or rendered safe ‘in situ’. The common thread running through all of the foregoing is the need to provide temporary access to normally inaccessible parts of the platform’s structure. This usually requires scaffolding, which temporary structure, given the environment, itself requires shelter and, given the materials and processes that might be used, needs isolating from vulnerable parts of the production process.

You're Covered.

Habitats. ATEXPowerTools. EnviroWrap. Protect your people and your operations with SafeHouse solutions. Many of the world's largest energy operators trust our Habitiats and innovative EnviroWrap technology to create a sealed, temperature controlled workspace. Our unique spark-free ATEXPowerTools range now puts operational safety first.

www.safehouseltd.com

www.offshoretechnologyreports.com | 9


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION OFFSHORE CONTAINMENT AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION SOLUTIONS

A Dangerous Place Peter Dunwell, Correspondent

The offshore environment brings plenty of hazards and risks to the workplace

When work, such as maintenance and repair, is not being conducted within the relatively well designed confines of the platform’s working areas, wind can be especially dangerous to people carrying out nonroutine tasks

I

n the 1980s, TV police drama ‘Hill Street Blues’ Sergeant Phil Esterhaus, played by Michael Conrad, told his officers before they left the safety of the Police House to “… let’s be careful out there.” It’s a cautionary note that could be aptly applied to almost any process undertaken in the offshore oil and gas sector where risks and hazards aplenty attend every step of the process. In fact, they are integral to the process: “The nature of their operation – extraction of volatile substances sometimes under extreme pressure in a hostile environment – means risk; accidents and tragedies occur regularly.”6 Because of this, the oil and gas industry is one of those, like aviation, where safety processes are integral to every routine operation.

Known Risks and Hazards Knowing what those risks and hazards are can enable operators to take sensible precautions and build in systems and procedures to enhance safety in normal circumstances. However, what happens when work has to be completed outside of normal circumstances? Or if the means to complete a job (welding or similar ‘spark creating’ processes) conflicts with the safety of the platform or the product it is recovering? That’s when operators need to have a complete understanding of the risks and hazards present. Fortunately, in the offshore sector, those risks and hazards are pretty well known but, if anyone was in any doubt, news footage of incidents such as the Piper Alpha platform burning following the world’s worst offshore disaster in 1988 (167 people were killed) would bring home the incredible dangers that accompany offshore oil and gas production. As Robert Lamb writing in ‘How Stuff Works’ put it; “Once the exploratory drilling phase is over and geologists have determined that a petroleum reservoir is worth the massive expense, oil companies prepare to establish an offshore production platform. These rigs [sic] are designed to last decades, often far from land and in some

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of the most hostile waters on Earth.”7 Risk is an ever present part of the business.

Oceans and the Weather The first source of hazard is the ocean itself bringing the considerable pressure of constant movement by millions of tonnes of water: usually gentle but still considerable; sometimes violent, capable of inflicting enormous damage and positively threatening. It also comprises a corrosive blend of water and salt into which one would not normally put a metallic structure like an oil and gas platform. Linked to and every bit as dangerous as the ocean is the weather. From simply carrying saltladen spray to wreaking its own havoc, the wind can encumber and endanger even routine work. But when work, such as maintenance and repair, is not being conducted within the relatively well designed confines of the platform’s working areas, wind can be especially dangerous to people carrying out non-routine tasks and, if it prevents proper completion of a job, to the integrity of the platform itself. Equally, in cold climates, problems such as snow accumulation impose significant loads on temporary structures to facilitate maintenance and repairs. ‘Oil & Gas UK’ sums up the problems of oceanic locations in ‘The Offshore Challenge’8; “… the northern North Sea called for major engineering and technological innovation. Production facilities had to be designed to withstand wind gusts of 180 km/hour and waves 30 metres high. Other problems included the ever-present salt-water corrosion… “. And the environment is not the only hazard; the process itself is not without risk, especially the risk of fire and ignition. In these circumstances, separation is often the best, and most effective, policy.

Fire Hazard and Management There are many fire hazards around oil and gas platforms not least of which is the product being recovered and the combustible nature of any fumes that might escape into the atmosphere. Equally, the fuels used to power much of the equipment are combustible and, if a process


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION OFFSHORE CONTAINMENT AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION SOLUTIONS

large habitat inside onshore refinery uk

requires the application of a technique that uses heat and/or fire (say, welding, such as would be used in many maintenance and repair processes) there is yet more risk. When it comes to the management of fire risk and fire, the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has a very clear policy of prevention being better than cure but, if a fire does occur, control procedures being in place9. “Preventative measures are the most effective means of minimising the probability of equipment failure and its associated risk. Protection systems are not substitutes for well-designed and well-maintained detection, warning and shutdown systems. However, they can protect the structure and process equipment, limit damage to these facilities and prevent escalation of fire. Design features can be provided, such as shielding which can reduce the likelihood of vessel failure. The choice between active and passive systems (or their combination) is influenced by the protection philosophy, the fire type and duration, the equipment or structure

requiring protection, water availability and the time required for evacuation.”

Other Risks Other risks attendant on offshore platforms include falling into the ocean from a considerable height. Not only is the fall itself extremely dangerous but also the effect of cold water on the body can kill a man in minutes. While this is a risk that can be routinely managed in normal operations within the designed work area of the platform, it will be a wholly different matter when working on parts of the structure not designed to support safe working in the normal course of events. In short, working on an offshore platform is hazardous and risky at the best of times but when the needs of maintenance and repair take personnel outside of designated working areas, those hazards and risks can be much greater unless a temporary structure comes with robust and integral safety management fittings and processes.

Risk Contained. Job Done. The ultimate safety barrier when it comes to hot work. • Eliminating the costs and safety implications of operational shutdowns. • Engineered for use in the most extreme conditions. • Capable of deployment in the most inaccessible areas on or off-shore.

www.safehouseltd.com www.offshoretechnologyreports.com | 11


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION OFFSHORE CONTAINMENT AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION SOLUTIONS

What Are The Rules? John Hancock, Editor And what do they mean for offshore operations?

Asset integrity management is the means of ensuring that the people, systems, processes and resources that deliver integrity are in place, in use and will perform when required over the whole lifecycle of the asset

G

iven the products that it extracts, the environment and conditions in which it operates, and the distance of most installations from shore based support and services, it is little wonder that the offshore oil and gas sector is among the most heavily regulated, especially in matters of health and safety. After all, people working in the sector face enough challenges without unnecessary problems from poor health and safety regimes being added to that inventory.

onboard Fpso operating in the campos basin

Regulators There are a number of organisations that seek to regulate the sector and the UK’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) would be typical in its approach10. “…The aim… is to identify good practice and provide guidance on minimising risks from fire and explosion hazards associated with... operating in an offshore environment.” The HSE also considers the bigger picture11; “The offshore oil and gas industry on the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) is a mature production area… HSE’s Offshore Division (OSD)… became increasingly concerned about an apparent general decline in the condition of fabric and plant on installations… Asset integrity management is the means of ensuring that the people, systems, processes and resources that deliver integrity are in place, in use and will perform when required over the whole lifecycle of the asset.” This could be viewed as need for good maintenance programmes but such programmes also have to be conducted with health, safety and system integrity in mind. In a similar vein in the late 1990s, the American Petroleum Institute (API) created a recommended practice (API RP75) which it called SEMP (safety and environmental management programme) of which Wanda June Parker and Steve Hanus writing in Offshore Magazine12 said, “Many dayto-day operating procedures offshore follow guidelines incorporated into SEMP documents. SEMP’s value, though, is to integrate available information and to provide a suitable framework for documentation and implementation of safety and environmental procedures tailored

12 | www.offshoretechnologyreports.com

specifically to an operator’s needs.” The article concluded with reference to an API survey indicating that, at that time, “… almost 95% of US Gulf of Mexico operators [were] already in the process of implementing the plan to varying degrees.” That figure is probably nearer to 100% today. The SEMP programme referred to is broken into 12 parts which are listed in the article.

Risk Management Health and safety are big business in the offshore sector and rightly so. As people in the airline industry often say, ‘If you think safety is expensive, consider the cost of failure’. As early as 1996, The Society of Petroleum Engineers opened its paper ‘Risk Assessment of Hydrocarbon Releases during Workover and Wireline Operations on Completed Wells on Offshore Platforms’13 with confirmation that, “Safety Regulations in the UK require operators to demonstrate that the risks to workers from well operations on offshore platforms have been reduced to the lowest level that is reasonably practical.”

ATEX One of the more significant risks with offshore operations is what is alarmingly referred to as explosive atmospheres. Given the large numbers of offshore installations within its territorial or nearby waters, it might come as no surprise that the European Union has taken a view on this hazard with its two ATEX Directives (the acronym


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION OFFSHORE CONTAINMENT AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION SOLUTIONS

...an explosive atmosphere is defined as a mixture of dangerous substances with air, under atmospheric conditions, in the form of gases, vapours, mist or dust in which, after ignition has occurred, combustion spreads to the entire unburned mixture the operator must ensure that equipment and protective systems used in zoned areas meet the requirements of the Equipment and Protective Systems Intended for Use in Potentially Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 1996. This might seem like many regulations for one part of a larger process, but nothing will be taken more seriously than safety and nothing will be treated more harshly by regulators than neglect in this area.

Who is Responsible?

offshore – gulf of mexico

refers to the French ‘ATmosphères EXplosives’) ensuring that, as of July 2003, organizations in the EU must follow the directives to protect employees from explosion risk in areas with an explosive atmosphere. The UK put the Directives into force through The ‘Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002’ (DSEAR). According to HSE14, “…an explosive atmosphere is defined as a mixture of dangerous substances with air, under atmospheric conditions, in the form of gases, vapours, mist or dust in which, after ignition has occurred, combustion spreads to the entire unburned mixture. Further on, the HSE paper adds that “Many workplaces may contain, or have activities that produce, explosive or potentially explosive atmospheres. Examples include places where work activities create or release flammable gases or vapours…” and, “The requirements in DSEAR apply to most workplaces where a potentially explosive atmosphere may occur.” Under DSEAR, operators have to identify areas with the potential to harbour explosive atmospheres and divide them into zones of likelihood that an explosion might occur. Then

UK HSE (see above) makes it very clear; “Before a workplace containing zoned areas comes into operation for the first time, the employer must ensure that the overall explosion safety measures are confirmed (verified) as being safe. This must be done by a person or organisation competent to consider the particular risks in the workplace, and the adequacy of the explosion control and other measures put in place.”

Site Specific One thing of which all regulations take account is site specific characteristics. This approach avoids compliance becoming a ‘box ticking’ exercise and puts the onus on the operator and/ or contractor to identify and address concerns that are specific to the installation in question and the processes that it hosts. These will usually then be submitted to their competent authority with a requirement, in the case of the UK HSE OSD, that the submission should include: a demonstration that all hazards with the potential to cause a major accident have been identified and a demonstration that risks have been evaluated and measures have been, or will be, taken to reduce the risks to persons affected by those hazards to the lowest level that is reasonably practicable.

Spark Free Tools. Ideas in Action. The ATEX certified cutting and grinding tools are pneumatically powered and spark-free. Carefully developed as a new option in safe repair and maintenance work, they are manufactured to the highest standards using best-in-class materials.

www.safehouseltd.com www.offshoretechnologyreports.com | 13


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION OFFSHORE CONTAINMENT AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION SOLUTIONS

How to Protect What Needs Protecting John Hancock, Editor

Even when the tools for the job and the ambient atmosphere form two parts of a fire triangle

Usually, items such as compressors, generators and other electrically driven equipment are kept in isolated and secure housings from which the only thing coming out is the energy they generate

R

ig Safety’ is a priority for any operator of an offshore platform. But some areas in any structure will be more dangerous than others, so an internationally recognised zoning standard BS EN 60079/10 has been devised for installations where combustible gases, vapours or mists are likely to be present – this is especially applicable to oil and gas installations.15 •Z  one 0 Where an explosive atmosphere is usually present. • Zone 1 Where an explosive atmosphere is likely to occur occasionally. •Z  one 2 Where an explosive atmosphere is not likely to occur or will persist for a short period only. Accommodation and workplace modules must be accredited to be safe in the zone where they are sited. There is also a fire resistance rating system in which A60 and H120 standards indicate acceptable levels of fire retarding in structures and infrastructure items such as wiring.

of large isolating housings. One way around that would be, rather than keeping the sparks in isolation, keep the combustibles out of the work area by supplying a non-combustible breathable atmosphere inside the space under positive pressure. There are also several detection devices available that can and should be used. Prevention is always better than cure, especially when following a fire or explosion, ‘cure’ might well become an academic concept. It might seem self-evident for HSE to state in its paper on ‘ATEX and explosive atmospheres’17 that; “Explosions can cause loss of life and serious injuries as well as significant damage. Preventing releases of dangerous substances, which can create explosive atmospheres, and preventing sources of ignition are two widely used ways of reducing the risk. Using the correct equipment can help greatly in this.” However, some truths can never be repeated too often.

Fire: the Greatest Risk

As has been alluded to above, it is possible to design safety into a permanent or semipermanent structure by planning the siting, housing and operation of equipment. This is one reason why a large part of the structures used offshore are constructed onshore or near shore where the optimum technologies, engineering and techniques can be applied in controlled conditions: plus, of course, an offshore structure will not be at serious risk of combustible atmospheres before it is installed on station and processing product. However, during a long and, increasingly often, extended life, maintenance, repair, upgrade, physical extension and life extension programmes will mean that work has to completed while the structure is ‘in situ’ in a potentially combustible atmosphere. A challenge arises when work which might not be part of the process for which the structure was designed (maintenance, repair, upgrade, etc.)

The greatest risk arises when a combustible atmosphere is exposed to heat or sparks so a key feature of any environment, permanent or temporary, is that it should be able to avoid that risk by keeping the two risk elements apart. Although that should really be three as the so-called ‘fire triangle’ identifies three elements for a fire: a hazardous vapour, oxygen and an ignition source (heat or fire). Unfortunately, on an offshore platform, quite a few pieces of equipment have the potential to generate sparks. Usually, items such as compressors, generators and other electrically driven equipment are kept in isolated and secure housings from which the only thing coming out is the energy they generate. This, though, might be more difficult when the work is of a temporary nature and the location of tools and equipment does not lend itself to the installation 14 | www.offshoretechnologyreports.com

Permanent Versus Temporary


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION OFFSHORE CONTAINMENT AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION SOLUTIONS

In order to properly plan for temporary work to be undertaken to the same levels of safety that apply all over an offshore structure, there needs to be a process of risk management commencing with a risk assessment

offshore – indonesia – temperature controlled habitat

all over an offshore structure, there needs to be a process of risk management commencing with a risk assessment. A risk assessment associated with hot work tasks in a hazardous area should consider the following: •C  an the task be deferred until the plant is shut down? •C  an the hot work be eradicated through cold work methods? • If the task can’t be deferred, what mitigation controls can be applied to reduce the likelihood of an incident, and the residual risk that remains once controls are in place to a safe and acceptable level?

You're Covered.

A Lesson Learned the Hard Way

offshore – arabian gulf

has to be undertaken in parts of the structure to which the installation’s native safety systems might not extend. And this is where specialist equipment and advice that adheres to the same safety principles and standards but applies them to temporary spaces and structures will be useful. It will be necessary to create around the temporary workspace, wherever on the structure it might be, the kind of safety environment that pertains all over the structure. This is, obviously, to secure the safety of those working on the job but also, because fire and explosions do not respect designated work areas, to protect the installation from a wider fire or explosion.

Nothing can be more important than safety: this is a lesson sometimes learned the hard way and at considerable cost. Of all people, in this context, Mark Bly, Head of Safety and Operational Risk at BP deserves the last word. Interviewed for BP Magazine in 2011 and in the wake of his eponymous report on the Deepwater Horizon accident, he explained how the company’s Safety and Operational Risk (S&OR) organisation works18. “Our role is to drive safe, compliant and reliable operations across BP. We do this in four ways. First, we set and update the requirements that are used across the business for safety and operational risk management. Second, we provide expert scrutiny of safety and risk, independent of line managers, advising, examining and auditing what our operations do. Third, we provide deep technical expertise to the operations. Fourth, we have the ability to intervene if needed to cause corrective action.” Safety lessons learned hard and learned well.

Habitats. ATEXPowerTools. EnviroWrap. Protect your people and your operations with SafeHouse solutions. Many of the world's largest energy operators trust our Habitiats and innovative EnviroWrap technology to create a sealed, temperature controlled workspace. Our unique spark-free ATEXPowerTools range now puts operational safety first.

Risk Management In order to properly plan for temporary work to be undertaken to the same levels of safety that apply

www.safehouseltd.com www.offshoretechnologyreports.com | 15


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION OFFSHORE CONTAINMENT AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION SOLUTIONS

References: 1

 AIM (Assessment, Inspection, Maintenance) and Reliability of Offshore Platforms; The Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers – download from www.shipstructure.org/pdf/87symp05.pdf

2

Seaweld http://www.seaweld.co.uk/offshore/offshore.htm

3

EMC http://www.emcegy.com/Offshore_Platforms.aspx

4

HSE Key Programme 3, Asset Integrity Programme – download from http://www.hse.gov.uk/offshore/kp3.pdf

5

Smart Fields – Intelligent Energy http://www.shell.com/global/aboutshell/media/speeches-and-webcasts/2008/brinded-smartfields-25022008.html

6

Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil_platform

7

How Offshore Drilling Works http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/energy/offshore-drilling6.htm

8

Oil & Gas UK, ‘The Offshore Challenge’ http://www.oilandgasuk.co.uk/publications/Production/The_Offshore_Challenge.cfm

9

HSE, Prevention and Control of fires http://www.hse.gov.uk/offshore/strategy/prevent.htm

10

HSE Information Sheet – download from www.hse.gov.uk/offshore/infosheets/is10-2008.pdf

11

HSE Key Programme 3, Asset Integrity Programme – download from http://www.hse.gov.uk/offshore/kp3.pdf

12

Offshore Magazine http://www.offshore-mag.com/articles/print/volume-57/issue-2/news/general-interest/safety-environmental-management-safety-procedures-plan-provides-platform-to-platform-uniformity.html

13

The Society of Petroleum Engineers http://www.onepetro.org/mslib/app/Preview.do?paperNumber=00036913

14

HSE, ‘ATEX and explosive atmospheres http://www.hse.gov.uk/fireandexplosion/atex.htm

15

Hazardous area zones http://www.hse.gov.uk/fireandexplosion/zoning.pdf

16

HSE, Prevention and Control of fires http://www.hse.gov.uk/offshore/strategy/prevent.htm

17

HSE, ‘ATEX and explosive atmospheres http://www.hse.gov.uk/fireandexplosion/atex.htm

18

BP Magazine http://www.bp.com/sectiongenericarticle.do?categoryId=9039817&contentId=7068198

16 | www.offshoretechnologyreports.com


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