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  • Writer's picturePer Ståle Larsen | Principal Consultant

Barrier Management for subsea tie-back projects - Our tips for success

Updated: Jun 12, 2023

It often takes a significant number of specialist hours to get the barrier management to work right for subsea tie-back projects. A team of internal and external specialists typically works on establishing barrier strategies, performance standards, and verification activities during the design, project execution, and ready-for-operation (RFO) phases. We have supported multiple subsea-tieback projects over the years. Here we share some advice in order to help you get the most value from the BM activities for the subsea tie-back projects:


Project leadership should recognize the need for barrier management expertise. They should also allocate experienced resources to the project team at an early stage. Ensure early understanding and ownership within the relevant disciplines on how you are to use barrier management as a tool throughout the different project phases.

Defining the process

Define (high-level) the barrier management process (including ownership, accountability, and interface management) in early phases, i.e., at least prior to sending ITT for the EPC phase.

Defining responsibilities and accountabilities

You should define responsibilities and accountabilities, e.g., involvement in the barrier verification process, for all involved stakeholders and include them in Contractual documents, as relevant.

Preparing the practical roadmap

For the execution phase, prepare a project-specific, practical plan/roadmap for the barrier management activities. The plan should reflect the lessons learned, the company- and regulatory requirements, and the main milestones. Furthermore, the plan should indicate the required involvement (i.e., implementation, documentation, and follow-up of performance requirements) from other discipline areas, as well as subcontractors/ suppliers, to optimize the workflow in the project.

Tools and processes

Establish easy-to-use tools and processes (early barrier identification and performance standards). These are important to ensure implementation and follow-up performance requirements early in the design phase. This will lead to improved collaboration and involvement from other disciplines and stakeholders.

Interface management

Subsea tie-back projects involve key interfaces (e.g., topside and subsea), and typically multiple contractors and operators. You need to give attention to interface management. This is to ensure that there is a correct definition of barrier functions crossing contractual borders. Not to mention you also should make sure that they are verified as part of barrier management.

Handover to Operations

Another key point is that you need to plan Handover to Operations as early as possible. This is to ensure that Operations’ requirements for barrier management regime (performance standards, verification regime, operational requirements, etc.) are adapted by the Project to prevent additional barrier management activities prior to start-up.

Identifying barrier functions and elements

Main contractors should ensure that there is early identification of all relevant project-specific barrier functions/elements. In addition, they should also ensure that corresponding performance requirements are reflected in relevant design and specification documents.

Planning barrier functions

Lastly, for the decommissioning of subsea installations, you should plan barrier functions associated with heavy lifting and removal. Do this planning in consideration of potential hidden flaws and deterioration of equipment and structures.

Want to know more about barrier management?

We here at ORS have years of experience and the expertise required to answer any questions that you might have. Therefore, please don't hesitate to reach out to us if you would like our help.

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