Following the blowout on the Ekofisk field in 1977, the authorities initiated an extensive research program called "Sikkerhet på sokkelen" (Safety on the Shelf). The Kielland disaster on 27 March 1980 really put a burner under this work, which also contributed to several changes in risk management of the activities.
The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate, which at that time was the public safety authority on the Norwegian Continental Shelf, saw a clear need for collaboration in the industry to increase knowledge on wear and design lifetime for materials and equipment used offshore. This body therefore took the initiative to the collaboration established under the name of OREDA in 1981.
| OREDA's Steering Committee during the seminar at the |
Petroleum Safety Authority on the occasion of the 25th anniversary.
Good for both safety and economy
OREDA is an industry project currently consisting of nine oil and gas companies with activities on the Norwegian Continental Shelf and internationally. Cooperation agreements on exchange of information have also been established with key suppliers. The objective is to collect, systematise and present reliability data for equipment used by the industry - both on installations, on the seabed/subsea and on land.
Over the course of 25 years, more than 17,000 equipment units and 34,000 faults from more than 250 facilities have been registered in the database. This matching of data is valuable for both operators and suppliers because it provides qualified information on design lifetimes, descriptions of faults, fault rates, etc. in relation to loads and operating hours.
The result is a safety benefit because the companies are able to prepare good risk analyses and plan maintenance, replacements, etc. based on information on expected lifetime. There is also a major economic upside as this knowledge can be used for field developments and when selecting systems to ensure optimum operational regularity.
"This is an investment in good quality," is the summary of Runar Østebø, the Chairman of the OREDA Steering Committee, and he goes on to add that the current needs of the industry still require international collaboration in order to reduce risk.
Export product for systematised transfer of experience
Initially, the project was mainly focused on the North Sea, and was partly motivated by the fact that Norwegian companies such as Statoil and Norsk Hydro were not yet operators of any producing fields, and therefore lacked operational experience with the petroleum activities.
"Over the years, OREDA has developed into a knowledge-based "export product", where the nine participating companies register incidents and faults on equipment from selected areas across the world where they are engaged in oil and gas activities," says Østebø.
He also points out that the initiative to the existing and now new ISO Standard 14224 is an important bit of knowledge to allow oil companies to "communicate" experience. Through active use of the OREDA databank, the companies can identify key areas for further improvement of safety and regularity.
"The continuity of the project is a result of constructive and necessary international cooperation, and therefore also unique and recognised as a collaboration between oil companies to safeguard the reputation of the industry," says Østebø.