naval architect viewing holographic representation of asset integrity management system

FPSO integrity management – let’s not forget the fundamentals!

The last 12 months have seen challenges posed to our world and lives which few of us could have imagined. The world of Floating Production units (FPSOs/FPUs) has not been immune to this, with the combined challenges from the pandemic and the crashing oil price early in 2020. This resulted in assets being reduced to essential persons on board (POB) and only essential scopes being carried out. Assets have suffered as a result. Back-logs of maintenance across assets have grown, as degradation stops for no-one in these harsh environments. In this context, it is more crucial than ever to remember the fundamentals of integrity management.

New technology has forever been coming into our industry. We have always strived to do things in better, smarter ways, and we have seen this during the 12 months more than ever. From continued push and development of digitisation tools, through to methods of remote unmanned inspection.

However, there is a risk that these new tools do not always carry out the tasks that we need them to do to manage risk appropriately. Let us not forget the fundamentals of integrity management!

Knowing the Condition of your Asset

  • Without knowing the condition of your asset you cannot manage the risk; what do I look at next, where do I look, what do I need to repair, where are the threats?
  • Structured and logical recording of information relating to your asset is critical, from inspection history through to applicable analysis documentation. Without this, it’s impossible to understand where the risks lie and how to tackle them.
  • A digital twin will only be as good as the information you feed into it. Done correctly it can guide you in what and where you need to look, but it cannot completely remove the need to inspect. Inspection is required both to provide a baseline information set and also to verify any analysis results. Rubbish in rubbish out!

Make your Inspection Count

  • Plan inspection properly. To understand the risk in a space, be sure to consider the key elements of the structure and select the right methods of inspection.
  • Use technology such as UAVs / ROVs where it is beneficial but recognise their limitations – they are just part of the toolbox available, not all of it.
  • Inspections should not be considered a tick-box exercise. Catching issues before they find you will always be more efficient and will reduce risk to the asset.

Fundamentals of Integrity Management

Here at Marine Technical Limits (MTL), the fundamentals of integrity management are at the heart of everything we do. They have shaped the development of our integrity management software PYXIS. As a result our software enables the condition of the asset to be fully understood in an easy to follow and logical manner. Understanding these fundamentals also supports the correct use of technology. Sometimes it will be appropriate to utilise ROVs and UAVs to conduct general visual inspection. Where close visual inspection of cracked or corroded structures is required, then manned inspection is needed.

Over and above all of this, we make it safe. Let us not use safety as the reason for using technology inappropriately. If a tool / method is the wrong tool, then let’s use the right tool and do it safely. This will ensure you gain that clear understanding of your asset, make your inspections count, and manage the risk properly.