DOT 2011: Asset integrity panel reviews industry practices

Offshore staff

NEW ORLEANS – A group of industry experts assembled Tuesday afternoon at DOT International in New Orleans to discuss best practices for preserving and enhancing the integrity of offshore assets. The panel offered viewpoints on the subject of Asset Integrity (AI) from the operator, vendor and classification society perspective.

The panel was moderated by Fred Wasden, general manager of Upstream Development for Shell International Exploration and Production Inc. “Industry is under unprecedented scrutiny and increasing demands for operations data,” said Wasden in his introduction to the panel.

David Miller, AI manager for SBM Production Contractors, noted that challenges to developing effective AI systems include the people factor; unknowns associated with bringing aging assets into compliance with the latest techniques; and the effective communication of information from design through operations.

Technology is adding an element to AI, too. The possibilities for subsea surveillance using downhole sensors was reviewed by Vincent Alliott, SURF Domain Champion, Schlumberger. Discrete sensors can measure specific factors such as pressure, while distributed sensors can monitor pipelines. Along with this potentially huge data flow, successful AI systems monitor the data transfer and interpret the information for the end user. Alliott noted that the most usual applications involve greenfields, but some retrofitting to existing facilities will be needed as well.

AI is also reaching into the qualification industry. Christian Bucherie, technical manager, Oil & Gas, Bureau Veritas, said AI works best when taken in a “holistic” approach that includes the equipment, processes, and people. “AI efforts can help define state of the art, industrial standards, and regulations,” he said.

From the operator perspective, Dwight Johnson, Shell Upstream Global Process Manager, said there are four aspects to successful AI – design integrity, technical integrity, operations integrity, and AI leadership. The last of these, Johnson said, is “the single most important thing necessary to have the system succeed. That leadership is necessary to sustain the program in the long term.”


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