The environment, health and safety compliance organization says the joint industry project (JIP) will develop industry guidance to assist in effective and cost-efficient major accident hazard management for installations during late-life and end of life operations. It will also facilitate safety case compliance through cessation of production, well plug and abandonment, decommissioning, dismantlement and removal.
While there is considerable experience, guidance and clarity on managing major accident hazards during the operational life of an installation, there is relatively little knowledge on effective risk management for the late life phases, leading into cessation of production, through to final installation removal, the organization says. This period can extend for many years and can include step changes in major accident hazards risk and has considerable uncertainty.
Offshore operators need to plan for the end of life phase and be prepared to modify their existing risk management system so that it remains effective as the installation moves towards cessation of production, decommissioning and subsequent removal. The operator must demonstrate continued legal compliance with the Offshore Safety Case Regulations (OSCR), through all end-of-life activities, up until the installation has been removed. This includes demonstration that major safety and environmental accident hazards are adequately understood, that appropriate measures are in place to manage those hazards, and that these measures are being suitably maintained.
The challenge of continuing risk management through the late-life operation of an installation and into the post-cessation of production stages must be accomplished on ageing facilities in a very cost-conscious environment. The risks from major accident hazards change considerably during this period as the hydrocarbon production risks reduce and the risks associated with decommissioning, well plugging and abandonment, and structural dismantlement are introduced, and environmental impact risk increases.
DNV GL says this JIP should be of interest to:
- Oil and gas installation operators/duty holders
- Decommissioning/dismantlement turnkey contractors
- Heavy lift vessel operators
- HSE, DECC, MCA and other relevant regulators and authorities