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  • Writer's pictureThomas Solberg Fylking | Principal Consultant

Stricter requirements for subsea blowout preventers (BOP)

Updated: Jun 12, 2023

Accidents generally result in stricter regulations and safety procedures. The investigation of the Deepwater Horizon accident in 2010 revealed a number of mistakes and failures leading to the accident. Ultimately, the BOP failed to seal the well, resulting in the largest marine oil spill in history. Since the accident, efforts have been made to make deepwater drilling operations safer, resulting in stricter requirements for BOPs.

The investigation of the Deepwater Horizon BOP system identified several deficiencies in the identification, testing and management of safety critical elements. It was found that although regular tests and inspections were carried out on the BOP components necessary for daily drilling operations, no regular inspections or testing were made to identify latent failures of the BOP’s emergency system.[1]

The investigation has resulted in several recommendations including stricter requirements for BOP maintenance management systems, BOP testing and Management of Change (MOC) processes. Following these recommendations, major oil companies are now in the process of releasing new group practices and technical requirements introducing a number of new and stricter requirements regarding data management, failure-reporting and reliability assurance towards drilling contractors.

Implementation of the new practices require drilling contractors to perform various new risk and safety studies, including in-depth FMECA and FTA on subsea BOP control systems, as well as development of new data reporting regimes and revision of existing maintenance plans and procedures.

ORS works in close cooperation with multiple vendors, engineering- and drilling companies, providing specialist assistance within the following areas:

  • Performance of in-depth FMECA for safety critical BOP components.

  • Development of Fault Trees (FT) and Reliability Block Diagrams (RBD)

  • Development of reliability model to be used for monitoring of reliability performance utilizing specific field data.

  • Development of guidelines for data collection, classification and reporting.

  • Development/revision of maintenance plans and procedures to align those with new set of technical requirements from the operator companies.

  • Periodic reliability assessments (PRA) and performance monitoring

  • Customized in-house training and competence management

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