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Subsea UK and Energy Institute Join Forces to Tackle Reliability

05 February 2010

Subsea UK and the Energy Institute have joined forces to create new guidelines targeted at obsolescence and risk management for Subsea systems. This initiative is the first joint project between the parties and follows on from a previous project undertaken by the Energy Institute targeted at Subsea Integrity.

With the UKCS being one of the most mature areas in the world, extending the life of assets safely and reliably is a major consideration. However a lot will depend on the practices that are in place to manage and mitigate issues that arise when spare parts are no longer freely available, and where potentially replacement parts may not be compatible, or may require significant risk of prolonged shutdown that would be costly for operators.

The guidelines will aim to assist operators by providing a means of adopting common methodology when assessing reliability and relating this to obsolescence of ageing sub sea equipment infrastructure. The document will also provide guidance that would promote good practice, both from a point of view of equipment availability and in terms of utilising feedback and intelligence on future trends and needs.

Alistair Birnie, chief executive of Subsea UK commented: “We already see a lot of work ongoing within individual members companies in this area, and this is a very good sign that obsolescence is being taken more seriously now. Our aim now is to try to get all this good work pointing in a common direction, so that there are no nasty surprises and to ensure that the industry plans its obsolescence for the long term, using all the information available to it. Working with the Energy Institute on this project will take in all the strengths of our collective memberships and its ideas, creating a robust set of guidelines that would be equally applicable anywhere in the world.”

The project will look at all aspects of subsea equipment, but it will also consider the effects of topsides elements such as computers, power supplies, Hydraulic Power units and other supporting equipment.

Keith Hart, Upstream Technology Manager for Energy Institute commented:

We are very pleased to be able to have the opportunity to work with Subsea UK and key industry personnel on this project dealing with ageing mechanisms for subsea equipment. The deliverables will provide a fitting compliment to the guidance issued in 2009 on the management of integrity of subsea systems and falls neatly within its general forward issues theme of ageing infrastructure. The guidelines will also provide a valued addition to the Energy Institute's portfolio of similar documents which supports and assists operators from all sectors of the oil and gas industry.

The guidelines will be steered by both Subsea UK's and the Energy Institute's members and are planned to be published by end of 2010. Anyone wishing to contribute or participate in these guidelines can contact either Keith Hart or Alistair Birnie for further details.