FMECA electrical and control systems in subsea BOP

MAR Consulting facilitated and documented an FMECA of electrical and control systems of a major drilling contractor’s subsea BOP.

Purpose of the FMECA

MAR Consulting facilitated the failure mode, effects and criticality analysis (FMECA) based on the methodology described on international standard IEC60812. However, the purpose was significantly different than most FMECA workshops. Typically, external resources perform an FMECA to evaluate a design with the objective to unveil its weaknesses (and strengths). As a result, this information can form the basis of a cost-benefit analysis for design improvement opportunities. In this project, however, in addition to the above, the drilling contractor/operator will use the output to report hard failures to relevant authorities. In other words, the purpose was to build a database of reports to be queried when a failure does occur. Reporting of failures in deployed BOPs is now an operational requirement in many parts of the globe.

FMECA scope

The assessments covered the electrical and control systems of the BOP, including subsea and surface equipment. The scope of the assessment included the electrical equipment involved in the activation of any particular function or emergency functionality. In conjunction with the previous hydro-mechanical assessment, which MAR Consulting also facilitated and documented, an end-to-end FMECA assessment has been performed for all safety functions of the BOP system in analysis.

Furthermore, MAR Consulting developed reliability block diagrams (RBDs) and qualitative fault trees (FT) to complement the assessment. They are meant to provide the drilling operator and their clients (operators) a better understanding of the reliability of the system, specifically when given failures occur.

The client integrates the assessment output into their trademarked and patented BOP simulation software. Main use cases of the software are visual failure analysis and testing of solutions; and an educational platform.

FMECA performance

MAR Consulting facilitated the assessment during 40 days in Houston, Texas, USA. It builds on the shared knowledge and experience of the participants (drilling contractor and client personnel). MAR Consulting contributed with a solid background in electrical and control systems, in addition to facilitation and scribing skills, to successfully deliver on this assignment.

Illustration of a BOP controls in a simplified manner showing the scope of the FMECA.
Fig. 1 Simplified BOP controls illustration.

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