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Bruno DABOUIS, Bureau Veritas, Marine Division

Jean-Claude ASTRUGUE, Bureau Veritas, Marine Division

INTRODUCTION methodologies including also the feed-back of

its combined experiences and expertise of
This is no breaking news to acknowledge that conventional offshore projects, of the on-shore
offshore oil and gas projects are capital and LNG industry and of the seaborne
technology intensive. Their development calls transportation of LNG, all being industries in
for expensive field surveys and test campaigns. which Bureau Veritas has been actively
It also requires comprehensive basic engaged since their very beginning.
engineering studies, so called front end
engineering and design (FEED) studies, well We intend to describe these methodologies and
ahead of the actual detailed engineering and illustrate how they have been implemented on
construction phases, in order to address all the real projects in order to assist in the process of
specificities of the project throughout its entire assessment, benchmarking and selection of the
life time and make key decisions in terms of key technologies to be used on an LNG FPSO
design options and selection of the key with the aim of reducing the uncertainties or,
systems and equipment of the unit with in other words, of reducing the various risks
consideration of its operating environment, relating to the key components and to their
performance, reliability, dependability, integration to an acceptable level for the
maintainability, operability, safety, decision makers.
environmental friendliness, etc. Furthermore,
offshore projects are all specific for a given
environment and field characteristics. DESCRIPTION OF THE
These general statements, valid for any FPSO METHODOLOGY OF RISK BASED
project, are even emphasized when considering QUALIFICATION OF NEW
offshore natural gas production terminals: such TECHNOLOGIES
LNG FPSO projects have nonetheless to The methodology proposed by Bureau Veritas
address all the issues pertaining to any for the qualification of new technologies or
conventional offshore production unit but also existing technologies used in a new context is
have to consider the additional issues relating described in the BV guidance note NI525. The
to the integration of technologies specific to qualification process is intended to
liquefied natural gas in an offshore substantiate, with an acceptable level of
environment. confidence and in a cost effective manner, that
In this particular respect, there is to date a technology is fit for purpose in accordance
limited return of experience available of the with the contractor requirements, that it
integration of LNG technologies offshore. We complies with the designer specifications, that
may however rely on the very large feed-back it is sufficiently reliable and that it is safe for
of the LNG carriers at sea for more than 40 the people and the environment. Time frame
years now and more recently that of the LNG and costs cannot be disregarded as the
Re-gas vessels and of the very few FSRUs qualification process of a new technology
developed since then, which is anyway could represent a bottleneck to the entire
substantially different from the case of an project scheduling or could be a handicap in
offshore LNG floating production facility. terms of costs. In addition, the possibility that
qualification tests fail may have a considerable
Facing these challenges, Bureau Veritas has impact on the implementation of the global
developed a number of risk based project.

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Offshore floating LNG terminals: risk based selection methodology of key technologies

Therefore, risk is worth being addressed and 1. Identification of new technologies or

evaluated in terms of likely costs versus assessment of the level of maturity of a
expected benefits. For these reasons, it is technology
advisable to perform the evaluation of the level
of qualification of new technologies For each system or equipment selected by the
sufficiently ahead of the FEED phase. And contractor, the novelty of the technology is
finally, new technologies may change the list ranked according to the following table taking
and the risk ranking order of safety critical into account both the level of maturity and the
elements that are to be identified and assessed proposed conditions of operation of the
for their probability of failure, consequences technology.
and possible mitigation means.
The assessment of the needs for qualification Application Conditions
Table 1: Technology
of a new technology starts with the detailed Maturity
screening and the identification of the so- Similar Different
called new technologies. Then, the new
Proven 0 1
technologies are analysed for their possible
failures and for the consequences of such Limited references 1 2
failures with techniques such as functional
Extrapolated from proven 2 3
analysis and failure mode, effect and criticality
analysis (FMECA). The FMECA makes it New 3 3
possible to highlight the most critical points of
the technology under consideration and to
decide on which points to concentrate the 2. Functional description of the systems
investigations, the tests and the qualification under review
efforts as well as to define the types of tests
The functional description aims at identifying
that are needed for qualification. So,
all the functions performed by a system and
depending of the outcome of these initial
the inter-relation between these functions
phases, the qualification process combines
which are necessary to properly perform a
both theoretical analytical modelling and
given mission.
physical tests either at reduced scale or at full
scale, whenever useful and feasible, with a These functions can be sorted by importance in
programme build up in coordination with the different categories such as principal functions
designers of the systems in accordance with (basic functions for which the system has been
the contractor specification for the intended designed, its raison d’être), auxiliary functions
use. (functions of which the realisation is essential
for the completion of principal functions) and
Finally, the decision making process at the end
constraint functions (functions made necessary
of the qualification process is an important
by the conditions to which the system is
step in the methodology. Its goal is to help
exposed as a consequence of both its specific
solve the trade-off between the level of
purpose and environment).
qualification, the resulting costs and the
expected results in terms of confidence in the In the context of the assessment of a new
unproven technology. technology, this formal description is meant to
allow the experts team to clearly evaluate the
The details of this methodological approach,
purpose and the operation modes of the system
based on a five main steps process, are as
and the interactions of its various components
in order to facilitate the FMECA work.
Furthermore it allows the identification of the
basic failures modes which correspond to the
loss of the functions.

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Offshore floating LNG terminals: risk based selection methodology of key technologies

3. Failure Mode Effect and Criticality By default, unless otherwise specified, five
Analysis (FMECA) levels for probability of failure and
consequences of failures are proposed.
Failure Mode Effect and Criticality Analysis is
a hazard identification technique where each The combination of these two figures
individual failure is considered as an (probability and consequences) provides the
independent occurrence with no relation to criticality score associated with the considered
other failures in the system, except for the failure mode.
subsequent effect that it might produce.
FMECA format is used to structure the The FMECA is carried out on a series of
brainstorming sessions of risk assessment with worksheets (Table 2), where the results are
the experts concerned by the technology under listed in a tabular format, equipment item (or
review. function) by equipment item (or function).

Starting from the basic failure characteristics In order to ensure that all the potential
of elements and functional structure of the accidental events are identified, it can be
system, the FMECA systematically documents useful to consider a generic list of typical
the ways equipment can fail, the possible hazards, for a first screening phase, and then to
causes, the effects these failures can produce further consider the specific additional hazards
on the performance of the system, and ranks relevant to specific systems, and for each
each potential failure according to its risk level hazard, identify the causes and the
which is the combination of the failure severity consequences of the associated component
and its probability of occurrence. failure. The potential hazards that exist on
ships or offshore facilities are well known
These two parameters are qualitatively and documented. They are grouped together
evaluated referring to pre-defined levels as according to their types as shown in table 3.
agreed with the contractor or with the relevant

Table 2: FMECA Worksheet Report n° XXX

Operational Mode : Date :

N° Item description Failure Description Failure Effect Risk Reducing Rating Actions /
Function Comp Mode Cause Local End Measures F S C Remarks

Table 3: List of typical hazards

Loss of propulsion Structural Failure Equipment Failure Collision

Loss of stability Dropped Objects Containment Failure Smoke

Control/Safety System
Stranding Helicopter Crash Occupational incidents
Flooding Fire/Explosion Toxic release Excessive ship motions

Loss of station keeping Grounding Loss of steering gear Loss of buoyancy

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Offshore floating LNG terminals: risk based selection methodology of key technologies

Then, all the predictable failure modes that are The goal of this third step is to determine the
relevant for the considered equipment are SHE criticality (Safety / Health / Environment)
identified and described. In this exercise, it is of each item gradually from “non critical” (C1)
recommended to consider the following table 4 to “super critical” (C5), going through “low
as a minimum guidance. Considering the item critical” (C2), “moderately critical” (C3) and
normal operating condition, potential failure “highly critical” (C4). The rating simply
modes are determined by examination of item derives from the combination of the failure
connections identified in the functional probability factors with the severity of the
analysis. The most probable causes associated consequences (table 5). Each potential failure
with the postulated failure modes are identified mode is thus ranked according to the
and listed. For each considered failure mode, combination of its severity classification, its
both immediate effect of failure at the failure detection capability and the probability of its
location (local effect) and the final effect (end occurrence. SHE criticality ratings will form
effect) impacting availability are identified, the basis for deciding which items of
evaluated and recorded. For each identified equipment should be subject to more detailed
failure mode, possible risk reducing measures qualification activities and for providing
so as to reduce the likelihood of effects guidance concerning the scope and level of
associated with the failure mode, are identified qualification activities that should be
and recorded. They can involve design safety undertaken.
factors, redundancy, inspection, monitoring,

Table 4: Generic failure modes

Fails to remain (in
Structural failure (rupture) Physical binding or jamming Vibration
Fails to open Fails to close Fails open Fails closed
Fails out of tolerance
Internal leakage External leakage Fails out of tolerance (low)
Inadvertent operation Intermittent operation Erratic operation Erroneous indication

Restricted flow False actuation Fails to stop Fails to start

Erroneous input
Fails to switch Premature operation Delayed operation
Erroneous input Erroneous output
Erroneous output (increased) Loss of input
(decreased) (decreased)
Loss of output Shorted (electrical) Open (electrical) Leakage (electrical)

Table 5: Criticality rating (probability of occurrence x severity of consequences)

5 C3 C4 C5 C5 C5
4 C3 C4 C4 C4 C5
F- Factor

3 C2 C3 C3 C4 C4
2 C1 C2 C2 C3 C3
1 C1 C1 C2 C2 C3
1 2 3 4 5
S - Factor

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Offshore floating LNG terminals: risk based selection methodology of key technologies

On the one hand, a probability category (F) is failure available in recognised generic
assigned to each item in order to provide a reliability databanks, reference books with
qualitative ranking of its probability of some possible variations based on the return of
occurrence. Table 6 is proposed as an example experience of the engineering companies, the
of frequency rating. The probability of operators and the system manufacturer or
occurrence is assumed to be correctly vendor.
represented by the reported frequency of

Table 6: Frequency Factor (F)

F Definition
Extremely improbable: not expected in the system life. (Simple design; proven
1 < 10-4 reliable design; simple production techniques; standard infrequent or no
maintenance; insignificant levels of operating conditions.)
Improbable: not anticipated in the system life. (Standard design; minimal
2 10-4 - 10-3 modification to reliable design; standard production techniques easy verification;
standard frequent maintenance ; low level of operating conditions.)
Remote: should not happen in the system life. (Design with no external interfaces;
3 10-3 - 10-2 significant modifications to proven design; difficult production techniques with easy
verification; complex and frequent maintenance; high levels of operating conditions.)
Reasonably probable: expected a few times in the system life. (Complex design
-2 -1 with few interfaces; the new design is based upon established design techniques not
4 10 - 10
easy verification; complex production techniques; extremely limited maintenance
possibility; very high levels of operating conditions.)
Extremely probable: expected several times in the system life. (Complex design
-1 with significant external interfaces; unproven new design / new design techniques not
5 > 10
easy verification; unproven production techniques; no possible maintenance; severe
levels of operating conditions.)

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Offshore floating LNG terminals: risk based selection methodology of key technologies

While on the other hand, the severity factor (S) ƒ To finalize the selection of the systems,
is evaluated from experience, expert opinions equipment and components that are to be
or common sense according to table 7, subjected to the qualification process, and
proposed as an example of severity rating, to refine the scanning of the components of
which can be used unless otherwise specified each system down to the level of details
by the operator. specified by the contractor;
4. Recommendations regarding design, ƒ To develop the qualification programme
qualification, inspection and with consideration of delays and costs as
maintenance of equipment so as to well as probability of success in an
reduce / maintain the deviation from integrated manner and derive the possible
specified performances and / or risk consequences of the qualification
under an acceptable level requirements on the fabrication methods,
the QA/QC scheme and the operating
The fourth step of the methodology restrictions;
consolidates the outcome of the previous
phases and concludes the overall process by ƒ With consideration of the qualification
the definition of the technology qualification programme, to define the extent and detail
plan and requirements in order to decrease its of the design review, inspections and tests
probability of failure and to demonstrate the that are to be conducted in order to proceed
fitness for use of the technology. It has three to the certification of the equipment
main outputs: depending on its SHE criticality.

Table 7: Severity Factor (S)

S Severity Definition
ƒ No damage to personnel, safety functions fully available
1 Negligible ƒ No significant spill, minor environment impact
ƒ No off-site impact/damage
ƒ Light injuries to personnel and/or local damage to safety functions
2 Minor ƒ A few barrels of pollution to sea, moderate environment impact,
ƒ Minor off-site impact
ƒ Serious injuries to personnel and/or large local damages to safety functions
ƒ A few tonnes of pollution to sea. significant environmental impact, situation
3 Severe
is manageable
ƒ Moderate off-site impact limited to property damage or minor health effects
ƒ One fatality, or less than 10 on-site permanent disabling injuries, impairment
of safety functions
4 Critical ƒ Serious environment impact, Significant pollution demanding urgent
measures for the control of the situation and/or cleaning of affected areas
ƒ Significant off-site property damage or short term health effects to public
ƒ Multiple fatalities and/or 10 or more on-site permanent disabling injuries also
outside the event area, total impairment of safety functions
ƒ Extensive environment impact. Major pollution with difficult control of
5 Catastrophic
situation and/or difficult cleaning of affected areas
ƒ Extensive off-site property damage, fatalities or short term health effects to

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Offshore floating LNG terminals: risk based selection methodology of key technologies

Table 8: Qualification Assessment Activities Levels Summary

Qualification Criticality level

Assessment Activities C5 C4 C3 C2 C1
Quality System
1. Standard System √ √
2. Accreditation √ √
3. QA Manual review √ √
4. Audit of Works (frequent: 1/y) √ √
5. Audit of Works (moderate: 2-3 y) √
6. Quality /IT plans review √ √ √ √
Engineering & Design
1. 3rd party design review √ √
2. 2nd party design review √ √
Qualification tests
1. Materials √ √
2. Prototype tests √ √ √
Inspection at works
1. Materials √ √
2. Inspection during fabrication √
3. Inspection after completion √ √
4. Checking or tests √ √ √
5. Running tests √ √ √
6. Traceability √ √ √ √
1. Construction dossier √ √
2. Test records and qualification √
3. Manufacturer certificate √ √

The process can be considered as completed particular technological option (for which the
when it has covered the topics summarized in rating is binary: yes or no), the result of the
table 8 which gives the frame for the assessment can be shown as illustrated on the
assessment of the technology qualification. following graph, using a 4 level scale of
performance rated from 0 to 3, for each sub-
system taking part of a technology based on
5. Cost/benefit analysis to determine the the following parameters:
level of qualification needed to achieve
ƒ Maturity level, that will reflect the need
the desired uncertainty reduction
for qualification
The methodological guidance proposed by
ƒ Complexity of the qualification process
Bureau Veritas aims at providing the
contractor with a rational and practical means ƒ Duration of the qualification process
in order to evaluate and benchmark the
different technologies the contractor considers ƒ Cost for the qualification
for a particular project. The benchmarking ƒ Fitness for service, or expectancy of
criteria have to be agreed and possibly success of the qualification process, based
customized with the contractor. Apart of the on the definition of an adequate
showstoppers, that may lead to reject a qualification plan.

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Offshore floating LNG terminals: risk based selection methodology of key technologies

Sub-system A
Maturity level

Fitness for service 1 Qualifcation duration

Qualification process
Qualification cost

Techno 1

Qualification Qualification Qualification Fitness for

Rate Maturity Level
Complexity Duration Cost service

• New or
• Extrapolated from Qualification
0 • real size > 18 months > 1 000 k€
proven systems used in Uncertain
model tests or
different environment
• pilot
• Extrapolated from
expected with
proven systems used in Complex analysis < 18 months restrictive
1 similar environment or needing support but < 1 000 k€
conditions for
• Limited references in of model tests > 7 months maintenance and
different environment
Complex analysis
• Limited references for expected with non
sophisticated < 6 months
the environment or restrictive
2 computer but < 100 k€
• Proven in other conditions for
programs and > 1 month
environment maintenance or
high level
Standard Full Qualification
engineering ascertained
• Proven for the analysis and tools without specific
3 < 1 month < 10 k€
environment and/or feedback maintenance or
experience operating

Finally, each subsystem of the different addition of their performance ratio as shown
technological solutions considered for a on the following sketch with ratings from 0 to
project can be compared rapidly on a selection 15.
of benchmarking criteria by the simple

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Offshore floating LNG terminals: risk based selection methodology of key technologies

Project Benchmarking

Risers and umbilicals

LNG/Byproducts storages 14 Liquid gas separation
Ballast system Pre-treatment facilities
Thrusters integration Acid Gas Removal Unit (AGRU)
Anchoring system, turret Gas Dehydration Unit (GDU)
Living quarters 6 Mercury Removal Unit (MRU)
4 Project 1
Topside integration NGL recovery unit
2 Project 2
Hull 0 NGL fractionation unit
Project 3
Custody transfer and metering station Liquefaction unit Project 4
Mooring system End flash gas system Project 5
Approach, berthing system Cooling medium system
Condensate offloading Heating medium system
LPG offloading Pow er generation
LNG offloading HP flare system
LP flare system

APPLICATION OF THE As a result, we did not identify any overall

METHODOLOGY TO AN LNG FPSO show stoppers, although there may be some
PROJECT limitations in the fitness for use of certain
technologies or solutions among those which
We would like now to illustrate this
have been selected for review in this study.
methodology through its application,
conducted in association with GDFSUEZ, on Some existing technologies already used
the analysis of a project for a medium scale (1 onshore, offshore or on ships can be already
to 2.5 Mtpa) LNG Floating Production, considered as fit for purpose for an LNG
Storage and Offloading unit (LNG FPSO). FPSO project.
Several technological options have been However, some others are not deemed to have
assessed and compared for their fitness for use today the full necessary qualification for such
or further qualification requirements for each an application, and therefore carry some
one of the following key systems of the LNG indetermination as to their fitness for use in a
FPSO according to this methodology. : maritime environment. Qualification
requirements have been proposed and
ƒ Hull and containment systems
evaluated in terms of cost, duration and
ƒ Turret systems (mooring and swivels) expectancy that these technologies become
ƒ Risers qualified successfully.
ƒ Offloading systems Some particular features of the conceptual
ƒ Inlet facilities project were also addressed that are not
ƒ Acid gas removal specific to LNG such as the issues relating to
ƒ CO2 disposal ultra deep water, in particular for risers and
turret mooring systems.
ƒ Gas dehydration
ƒ Mercury removal As regards LNG containment systems, the
return of experience of sea going LNG carriers
ƒ NGL recovery is considered to provide a reasonable
ƒ NGL fractionation understanding of the major issues when
ƒ Liquefaction processes considering their integration on an LNG
ƒ End flash gas system FPSO. The experience of onshore LNG
storages has also been considered in particular
ƒ Utilities
as regards cargo stratification.

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Offshore floating LNG terminals: risk based selection methodology of key technologies

Particular attention was paid to topside will result in them being unproven in this
systems for gas treatment and liquefaction as particular environment.
several technologies in use onshore need some
Secondly, the offshore environment imposes
form of additional qualification for use on a
specific constraints that require new
floating platform.
technologies to be developed.
Similarly, quite some attention was paid to the
In such situations, technologies have to be
LNG offloading systems as this is one of the
assessed for their fitness for the projected
most important safety critical elements and
offshore terminal in terms of safety, efficiency
also one of the potential bottlenecks driving
and reliability. But all systems do not have the
the overall dependability of the unit in its
same impact on these three parameters, thus
production capability. Some offloading
ultimately on the dependability of the terminal.
technologies already exist for LNG, among
Therefore it is worth classifying the various
which a few are already qualified for an
contemplated technologies in terms of
offshore application, and some others are
criticality to the global system: first of all
presently under development. In any case, the
individually, to satisfy a particular functional
offloading technologies shall be fully
requirement and secondly in a more holistic
integrated in a global offloading system
manner, to evaluate the impact of the failure of
ensuring safety and reliability in all the
a piece of equipment on global systems and
envisaged operating scenarios. Obviously, the
functionalities of the LNG terminal.
level of harshness of the environmental
conditions on site and the level of complexity This is the reason why Bureau Veritas has
of the offloading systems with respect to developed a methodology in order to identify
design, operation and maintenance will have to the critical systems and equipment based on
be respectively considered when selecting one risk and in order to assess the need for
the available technologies. qualification and the scope of qualification of
the new technologies considered for offshore
LNG terminal projects.
Given the very high CAPEX and OPEX of such
Several projects of offshore floating LNG projects as well as their essential role in the
import and export terminals have been studied LNG supply chain, it is deemed very important
by the major oil and gas companies in the last to conduct such analysis well ahead of the
decade, but so far only a few offshore re-gas FEED phases in order to support the main
facilities have actually been achieved to date. decisions relating to the selection of
However, we observe an increasing thirst for appropriate technological solutions based on
offshore LNG and the pace at which projects safety, and performance in the long term.
are being studied is definitely increasing these
days. Bureau Veritas publications
Given the established experience of on-shore ƒ NR542 Classification of Offshore Floating Gas
LNG terminals, it has been quite natural to Units.
consider how the proven on-shore technologies ƒ NI493 Classification of Mooring Systems for
could be transferred off-shore in a safe, Permanent Offshore Units.
efficient and reliable manner. Similarly, the ƒ NI525 Risk Based Qualification of Unproven
offshore LNG terminal projects tried to build Technology.
on the accumulated experience acquired by the ƒ NR551 Structural Analysis of Offshore Surface
offshore oil industry and by the LNG shipping Units through Full FEM Models.
industry. ƒ NI524 Classification and certification of High
However, these synergetic approaches have two Integrity Protection System.
obvious limitations. ƒ NI567 Risk based verification of floating
offshore units.
Firstly, on-shore proven technologies may
ƒ Methodology for Sloshing Assessment of LNG
appear to be sensitive to issues connected with
offshore terminals, Louis Diebold, ISOPE 2010.
the specific offshore environment leading them
to require some adaptation and which in turn °°°

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