An ad hoc committee will conduct a public workshop and follow-on consensus study to address reliability issues associated with the connectors and other fastener systems used in critical safety components and equipment for offshore oil and natural gas operations (“Connectors”).
The topics to be addressed by the workshop will be -
1 Connectors currently in use, and the systems in place for selecting the design, manufacture, materials requirements: mechanical properties (yield strength, tensile strength, hardness), coatings, loading, corrosion performance, and cathodic protection of those Connectors;
2 Connector performance and failures in an undersea environment, including factors that contribute to their successful performance and failure, and procedures for identifying failure mechanisms and root cause analyses;
3 Manufacturing processes in place for Connectors, such as heat treatment, coating, and machining, safety management, and the use of industry quality standards in developing those processes;
4 Quality assurance and quality control procedures in place for the manufacturing of Connectors, including industry quality management system oversight of subcontractors (second tier & third tier) where appropriate;
5 Standards and regulations in use today globally in a variety of industries such as refineries, aerospace, nuclear, military, naval (submarine and ship) and automotive and jurisdictions, as applied to similar types of fasteners.
A summary of the workshop will be prepared by a designated rapporteur in accordance with institutional guidelines.
Upon completion of the initial RCA Bolt Workshop, a follow-up study that builds upon the workshop’s presentations and discussions will be conducted. The study will develop useful options for consideration by industry and BSEE on all aspects of connector manufacture and use in an offshore environment after further assessment and information collection, the study should address the following issue under task 1-8.
Task 1: Assessment of the critical drill-through equipment fastener systems and the appropriateness of materials and coatings selected for incorporation into fasteners, for optimal performance for subsea environment operating conditions. The assessment should address the following questions and issues:
Are existing industry best practices and BSEE regulations adequate enough to ensure that fasteners will perform satisfactorily in the subsea conditions under which they are expected to be used?
What additional steps should be taken to improve the development and implementation of best practices and regulations governing fastener performance for critical drill-through equipment for subsea applications?
What are the best techniques and practices to address the design, load, fatigue loading, material properties (YS, UTS, elongation, hardness) requirements, coating selection, cathodic protection, QA/QC, quality management systems (QMS) oversight of subcontracted vendor manufacturing process issues (procurement-forging, manufacturing, heat treatment, coating processes, etc.), fastener failure type and failure reporting, and failure analysis techniques for use in managing fastener use and quality?
Options for optimal material specifications for inclusion in relevant industry standards for future use and implementation of fasteners used for subsea oil and gas applications.
Identification of best practices from other industries like refinery, both onshore and offshore, aerospace, aviation, nuclear industry, military, naval (submarine and ship), pipeline, and automotive.
Risk Assessment timelines and protocols for replacing existing in-service sub-sea fasteners (e.g. replace all offshore bolts of concern based on risk, age, etc.).
Data collection needs: who collects the failure data; when is the failure data collected; when, to whom and how is the failure data reported?
Task 2: Design issues and human-systems interaction factors.
This analysis will not be limited to the technical components but will also encompass the entire system and bolt lifecycle (design, procurement, manufacturing, installation, maintenance, commissioning, and operation), including the human components. Specific emphasis will be placed on the management of the manufacturing process from the first tier OEM down through the second, third, fourth, etc., sub tier sub-contractors.
Task 3: Options on improving safety of offshore drilling and pipeline operations as related to the use of fasteners for critical drill through equipment components like the LMRP (connector) and pipeline fasteners.
Identify options for reducing or eliminating the identified gaps for fastener manufacture, and provide valuable insight on how/if alternative fastener designs are capable of improving safety of offshore drilling and pipeline operations. Options to include:
Options on the methodology for the selection for material properties (such as hardness, yield, UTS, etc.), and other critical parameters identified by the industry standards or codes, in accordance with the subsea bolt application and operating environment; and options encompassing the use of both domestic and international standards and regulations that are in place today on fasteners to BSEE on how to proceed or how the existing industry standards should be modified to address project findings, or how BSEE should structure a 30 CFR 250 regulation to require these conditions should be met.
Task 4: Evaluation of the performance of fastener systems currently in use including the process of manufacturing (e.g. smelting, casting, drawing, heat treatment, coatings, mechanical/material properties, performance properties-shear stress, fatigue life, etc.), corrosion protection (cathodic protection) installation (e.g., torqueing), maintenance and inspection processes associated with fastener systems.
Task 5: The subsea environmental effects (seawater salinity along with high pressure/high temperature in presence of CO2, Cl- or H2S,) on the mechanical properties of bolts and corrosion resistance.
Task 6: The impact of cathodic protection systems on fastener performance in a subsea environment.
Task 7: Identification of the similarities and differences in industry standards related to the design, material specification for strength, hardness, coatings, corrosion resistance performance in atmospheric as well as subsea application conditions, cathodic protection, performance and maintenance requirements as related to fastener systems worldwide.
Task 8: Evaluation of alternative fastener designs used globally by the oil and gas and pipeline industry (OCS, other offshore areas, onshore), refineries, aerospace, aviation, nuclear, Naval (submarine, ship), automotive, and/or other industries, etc. Identification of ideas and concepts taken from industries outside of oil and gas which can be integrated into the offshore oil and gas community to effect improvements on safety and environmental protection.