ABS Innovates For Petrobras Project

Risk-based inspection (RBI), long a source of theoretical interest to the offshore industry, is the key element of a new first-of-its-kind program being developed by ABS Group Inc., for the Petrobras 100,000- bpd 35 FPSO (pictured on page 27), operating in the Campos Basin offshore Brazil - Marlin Field, in 2,788 ft. of water. The program, when developed and implemented, is designed to significantly reduce lifecycle maintenance and the potential for accidents by pinpointing areas of higher concern and focusing additional inspection and maintenance efforts on them.

Previously, risk-based inspections typically have been focused on individual components of an offshore structure. This project will provide the entire offshore structure with a single comprehensive RBI program.

In one very critical study, the U.S. Minerals Management Services (MMS) engaged the Offshore Technology Research Center and EQE International to conduct a risk analysis to compare the risks of FPSOs with existing deepwater production systems currently operating in the GOM.

The existing deepwater production systems considered in the study were TLPs, Spars, and fixed jacket platforms serving as both production facilities and transportation hubs for deepwater production. Risks were evaluated for each system over a 20-year operational life, beginning at first oil and ending with production shut-in. The risk analysis addressed personnel safety and environmental pollution.

In order to incorporate this information into the risk analysis, teams of technical experts were assembled for each study production system. Input from the technical experts was obtained through a series of workshops facilitated by EQE. "The study approach relied extensively upon industry expertise provided by Deepstar participants," said Dr. Andrew J. Wolford, EQE Offshore Risk Manager.

"This process may well establish a precedent for cooperative risk assessment addressing fundamental regulatory issues pertaining to the U.S. outer continental shelf.

The results from this study will be used by the U.S.

government to develop a policy concerning the use of FPSOs in the GOM. "This study represented a rare opportunity for engineers to provide meaningful and objective information to policy makers before a major policy is developed," according to Wolford.

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Maritime Reporter Magazine, page 40,  Nov 2000

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