Real World Challenges in Meeting Risk Criteria for Brownfield Projects

  • Type:
    Conference Presentation
  • Conference Type:
    AIChE Spring Meeting and Global Congress on Process Safety
  • Presentation Date:
    April 27, 2015
  • Duration:
    30 minutes
  • Skill Level:
    Intermediate
  • PDHs:
    0.50

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Real World Challenges in Meeting Risk Criteria for Offshore Brownfield Projects

Process Safety is an integral part of the decision process for most operators. The ability to assimilate process safety into the project life cycle is critical to effectively deliver capital projects on time, on budget and with residual risk reduced to a level that is As Low As Reasonably Practicable (ALARP). This paper will describe how through the use of qualitative and quantitative risk assessments, and inherent safety tools, a “win-win” was obtained that enabled a Brownfield project to go forward while reducing the overall facility risk.

One of the main challenges in any brownfield project (big or small) is to avoid the unexpected changes or “surprises” that are often uncovered during detailed design or worse-still during offshore construction. These surprises tend to cause projects to recycle, exceed budget and/or extend schedule. More importantly, they can affect the ability to obtain an inherently safe design where the risk is ALARP.  Older facilities were often built without the benefit of a comprehensive risk assessment, which can result in higher inherent risk. This risk can further increase as the facility ages and modifications are made. As new projects come to the existing facility, the proposal for new equipment and hazards can make it extremely challenging to find the best solution for both the existing facility and the project.  To successfully manage both the existing facility risk as well as the proposed incremental change, there are several tools and concepts that can be applied.

Many of the process safety technical studies that require revalidation are performed during FEED on a typical greenfield project.  The risk of waiting until FEED to perform this work on a brownfield project is that the results can often change the intended project direction from during concept selection, resulting in recycle and overall delays to the project.  Thus, the ability to identify and address process safety issues early on in the development life cycle of major capital projects has potentially significant value.

Brownfield projects should look ahead into the next project phase and by dive deep into the existing operating asset data as soon as possible. Truly understanding baseline risk and latent conditions will provide valuable information to a Pre-FEED contractor. Documenting existing capacities for current equipment and systems is one of the first key activities a brownfield project should undertake. For example, simply becoming familiar with the layout of the current facility, identifying safety critical equipment, and looking at the current flare and relief capacity will help the project team minimize impact to the existing operating environment and identify cost and schedule constraints.

This paper will discuss a real project and outline the challenges that were faced and how they were addressed in moving the concept selection process forward to create a meaningful Basis Of Design and Scope Of Work for Pre- FEED.  Interface management between the Engineering, HES, Operations and Project Management disciplines became crucial to successfully proceeding to design and build the safest and most cost effective concept.  Early phase work helped to identify key constraints and help progress process safety just beyond hazard identification.

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