FMC Technologies: Good standards improve safety
Preventing accidents is imperative for the oil industry. As a result, developing and following good standards is of great importance, according to Tom Eddy Johansen, Chief Engineer at FMC Technologies.
FMC Technologies, a company with headquarters in Houston, USA, is the world’s leading supplier of underwater technology for the oil industry. In the Kongsberg office, Mr. Johansen works on project in many countries. He believes the standards in the NORSOK U-series have been very important for the development in the Norwegian oil industry. The standards will also prove important when the oil industry faces new challenges in the artic regions.
Mr. Johansen is a member of the sector board for petroleum standardization in Standards Norway. In this role, he sees new challenges.
Several arctic standards are being developed, but we need even more. Low temperatures in the arctic affect materials, which in turn affects safety. An underwater structure can be affected by its surroundings. The equipment must be prevented from leaking when we drill in a seabed with permafrost. Increased use of good standards is essential to secure robust designs.At the same time, stringent, standardized requirements must be put in place for services, personnel and preparedness. The challenges are demanding due to large geographical distances, poor infrastructure and extreme temperatures, according to Mr. Johansen.
He also works on oil excavation in deep waters in Africa, and points out that following standards is important in all types of geographical conditions.
Solves common demands
In Mr. Johansen’s experience Norwegian and international standards are necessary to succeed. For FMC Technologies it is important to participate in the development of solid, forward looking standards along with others in the field. The goal is to influence the direction of the work.
High quality standards are necessary to prevent incidents and accidents in the oil industry.
- Through standardization work, suppliers and customers develop a useful community. We acquire a common “language” and are able to solve common demands.Project management becomes easier and customers are more satisfied. We know which standards apply when we develop new products, and our competitors face the same requirements. We all need to step up, says Mr. Johansen.
He adds that in the short term standardization can be seen as expensive, but in the long run the need for customization lessens when common standards are used. Without standards, more injuries and accidents may occur. The consequences can be extensive and costly. It is therefore quite necessary to set stringent requirement to loads on equipment.
When Norway entered its “oil age”, there were new requirements with each new project. The industry was fragmented. Now, there are more projects and the production volume is higher. More standards and better quality has thus become a necessity. Tried and trusted methods must be easy to repeat. Internationally, the Norwegian oil industry has become renowned for being on the cutting edge when it comes to testing new technologies and early harmonization requirements. The supplier industry in Norway is regarded as competent to operate in difficult geographical conditions, with the ability to adapt to strict demands.
Early in the 1990s, the oil companies and suppliers made a joint effort in the standardization work. Norwegian NORSOK standards have been used in international ISO standards. The use of common standards makes it easier for oil companies to switch suppliers and products as solutions and services are more standardized.
- The NORSOK U-series contains many important for subsea systems.
- ISO 13628 is important for the construction and the running of production systems under water.
Text and small picture: Siv Ellen Omland, Empower Communication