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Recommended Practice for Reliability, Technical Risk, and Integrity Management

The American Petroleum Institute Recommended Practice 17N (API RP 17N) provides a structured approach that organizations can use to manage risk and uncertainties related to reliability and integrity performance throughout the life of a project. The basic approach is simple and consistent and has the potential to reduce the financial risk of designing, manufacturing, installing, and operating subsea equipment or systems. This paper presents the principles and approaches used in API RP 17N, and discusses what it is in general and why it was written. It also describes the status of its recent update.

Why API RP 17N Was Originally Developed

Throughout the 1990s and the early 2000s, there were widespread concerns relating to the reliability of subsea technologies. A number of operators of subsea fields were experiencing equipment failures that had significant adverse effects on production. Many of these failures occurred in the early stages of production and involved more than one component.

Although there are elements of chance in all accidents and failures, when actual failures are studied, the root causes always amount to a failure of management to identify, assess, or manage the risks that they faced. Moreover, the causes of failure cannot be leveled at one organization.

To ascertain the root causes, it would be necessary to address industry reliability-management practices not only during operations but also at the design stage, where there is the greatest opportunity to influence component- and system-reliability performance. Tackling the problem on a company-by-company basis was also not viable. Likewise, it was not realistic for suppliers, with a wide customer base, to invest in reliability-management practices to meet the requirements of just one or two customers in particular. What was required was some form of guidance on reliability and its management that the whole subsea industry and its supply chain could buy into. This was the reason for the development of API RP 17N.

This article, written by Special Publications Editor Adam Wilson, contains highlights of paper OTC 25412, “API RP 17N—Recommended Practice for Subsea-Production-System Reliability, Technical-Risk, and Integrity Management,” by John Strutt, Astrimar, and Don Wells, SPE, Hess, prepared for the 2014 Offshore Technology Conference, Houston, 5–8 May. The paper has not been peer reviewed. Copyright 2014 Offshore Technology Conference. Reproduced by permission.
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Recommended Practice for Reliability, Technical Risk, and Integrity Management

01 August 2014

Volume: 66 | Issue: 8

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