Making offshore safer: new ways of working to prevent major accidents.
How can verification evolve to provide more value in what is still an extremely hazardous industry?
The verification of offshore oil and gas assets against applicable codes, standards and regulations is a key process in safety regimes worldwide as it provides assurance that offshore installations can be expected to perform safely and reliably.
A new study from LR’s Field Survey Group (FSG) explores the concept of ‘Next Generation Verifiers’ and encourages verifiers/surveyors to step back and re-evaluate their role to improve the quality of their service.
The study also critically examines risk-based verification regimes and encourages the improvement of internal assurance processes, so that duty holders can confidently self-regulate themselves, look for blind spots, and use Independent Verification Bodies (IVBs), like LR, to their full potential.
The introduction of a risk-based verification regime in the UK was a crucial development following the Piper Alpha disaster in 1988. This regime requires the proactive role of the operators/owners of offshore installations to prevent and mitigate Major Accident Hazards (MAHs).
Despite the systematic framework and verification process, the regime is still reactive and does not deliver the goals of the UK Offshore Safety Case Regulations (OSCRs), with multiple case studies, hydrocarbon leaks, and regulators’ enforcement notices suggesting that MAHs can still happen within the existing assurance process.
As an independent verifier, LR has been working on a process to enhance the execution methodology of the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) offshore verification regime. While not changing the system, the aim is to encourage owners/operators and IVBs to look more closely at what they are trying to achieve, and by doing so they can introduce more effective work practices, providing an added benefit to their operations.