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Lloyd’s Register launches risk-based inspection service

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LNG Industry,

Lloyd’s Register Energy has launched a new risk-based inspection (RBI) service, which combines class with hull integrity management. Lloyds says that the service will help to minimise costs for the operators of floating offshore installations (FOIs), such as floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) units and floating LNG (FLNG) vessels.

The service helps to improve reliability and lengthen operating time, whilst simultaneously reduce downtime and risk. The COO of Assurance Services for Lloyd’s Register, Tim Walsh, said: “RBI techniques may be used to provide justification for the assignment of class, and may be systematically applied to a hull structure and associated components or to individual systems, subsystems or components.”

The system detects and monitors the systems and subsystems, as well as equipment and component degradation. It leads to appropriate decision-making criteria to manage risk to acceptable levels. Lloyd’s Register claims that the following tasks need to be carried out if the program is to be successfully utilised:

  • Identification and definition of the relationships and interactions between components.
  • Definition of each inspectable component’s operating conditions and loading.
  • Identification of components’ common cause failure (CCF).
  • Identification of the individual components’ (or group of components’) failure modes and degradation mechanism.
  • Identification of the consequences of component failure.

Walsh said: “The most common deterioration mechanisms associated with hull structure components can range from coating failures, through to fatigue and stress built in to the structure during construction.

“RBI can help assess all of these issues and prioritise inspection needs.

“The key to understanding how classification, verification and integrity fit together is in understanding what differences there are between integrity management and classification schemes. We have investigated this in detail and have launched this new service because these two schemes can be integrated, and the overall result will optimise survey and inspection activities.”

“While the marine industry focuses on class, the oil and gas industry applies asset integrity management and more often than not, a risk-based approach.

“To overcome this disparity in maintenance and management regimes, there is a requirement of the class societies to understand and appreciate what the FOI operators need and conversely the FOI operators need to understand what class ‘does’.”

The Product Development Manager, Asset Integrity Services at Lloyd’s Register, Rebecca Allison, said: “Class gives operators a common standard set to a maximum risk level. However, risk is very much dependant on where the unit is located and not just build standards. When adopting an RBI approach, it must be taken into consideration that units located in different regions will perform in a very different way. Site-specific assessments and environmental factors must be taken into account.

“RBI and class regimes can work in tandem to optimise inspection and maintenance regimes, reduce costs, minimise downtime, mitigate risk and shutdowns. However, adopting an RBI approach does require a mind-set change for both class societies and operators. It is no longer about undertaking surveys at specific times. Rather, they are undertaken based on assessment of risk that each equipment and structural item poses.

“The net is also being cast wider. RBI methodology isn’t limited to the oil and gas industry, the military and defence industry and cargo shipment sector have also shown interest in this new approach with the realisation of the operational efficiencies and cost savings that can be achieved.”

Edited from press release by David Rowlands

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