RAMS group in SFI SUBPRO
A new center for innovation-driven research on Subsea Production and Processing (SFI SUBPRO) is starting up now in mid 2015 and will last for 8 years. The center is headed by Professor Sigurd Skogestand from the process systems group at the Chemical department, and involves key research groups at NTNU including the RAMS group. Professor Mary Ann Lundteigen from the RAMS group is the co-director and also part of the core team. For more information about the center see the center web pages http://www.ntnu.edu/subpro.
The RAMS group has carried out research in relation to subsea oil and gas systems since the mid 1980s. Focus has been on reliability assessment of drilling and well production systems, as well as subsea processing systems and subsea control systems. Our contribution into the area resulted in a new Professor in Subsea Reliability, Professor Anne Barros (funded by DNV-GL for the first 5 years).
SFI SUBPRO is therefore a very key arena for us to continue our research in this area. Together with the industry partners, we are starting out with three sub-projects from 2015:
- Incorporating reliability, availability, and maintainability assessments into the design of new subsea systems.
Many of the solutions needed to solve the subsea challenges involve new technology. The new technology can involve totally unproven design, or partly proven design put into a new environment. The industry has already taken many initiatives for developing guidelines for qualification of new technology, however, there are several unsolved challenges in relation to how reliability and availability assessment support the building of confidence at each step of the development. It is very important that reliability and availability is addressed from the very beginning. This subproject aims to incorporate improved methods for reliability and availability assessments, by working closely with other disciplines and case studies in the center.
- Developing a safety and control philosophy that is tailor-made for subsea environment and safety challeng
Current control and safety philosophy for subsea has been based on topside requirement and philosophies. However, subsea environment faces different risks, different operating conditions, and different environmental challenges than topside. It is important to balance the need for separation and independence with complexity and safety concerns of unscheduled stops and start-ups. The RAMS group aims to investigate from two perpsectives: (1) From the risk assessment perspective, that aims to identify the risks, risk acceptance criteria and need for risk reduction, and (2) From the subsea hardware and software perspective, investigating the most suitable solution that meets the subsea requirements.
- Developing new methods and models for prognostics based maintenance planning
Safe and reliable operation in a subsea environment requires more precise understanding of technical state, including remaining useful life (RUL), to avoid or delay the need for unplanned stops and its developments over time. If a failure occur, it is sometimes difficult to localize where the fault is, in particular for static equipment, as the methods and tools used topside cannot be adapted subsea. Lack of precise knowledge about where the fault has originated, may delay the planning of repair and compensating measures.Many phenomena related to degradation are too complex to explain and model by physics of failure. Methods for exploitation of stochastic models, and their use in combination with physics of failure model have not yet been explored for the purpose of maintenance optimization and risk-based maintenance.
The subprojects involves contributions from industry partners,2 new PhD candidates, and 1 new postdoc, in addition to Professor Mary Ann Lundteigen, Professor Anne Barros, and Associate Professor Yiliu Liu.