PSA releases new report on fire loads on offshore drilling rigs in cantilever mode

Several offshore production platforms are designed and commissioned without drilling towers. Instead drilling operations are planned and executed through the use of jack-up drilling rigs where the drill floor is cantilevered over the production platform in position over the well. This situation requires special attention on fire risks, structural robustness and fire safety design due to the potential of accident escalation. The Montara blowout incident off the northern coast of Western Australia in 2009 and the Usumacinta incident in the Gulf of Mexico in 2007 showed that a major fire from hydrocarbon releases in the wellhead area relatively quickly can lead to a collapse of the drilling tower and the cantilever construction. If not properly designed against fire, such structural collapses may lead to an escalation of the accident, having catastrophic consequences for both the production platform and the jack-up rig.

The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) has recently issued a report discussing fire safety and fire loads on offshore drilling rigs in cantilever mode. The study is based on review of comprehensive documentation of risk, fire and structural analyses from eight development projects in the North Sea, all involving drilling rigs in cantilever mode. All fire scenarios have been simulated with KAMELEON FIREEX KFX®, and detailed results from advanced integrated fire analyses using KFX™ featuring FATHS and USFOS have demonstrated effective solutions in such design. The PSA report (in Norwegian) can be found here.

Furthermore, ComputIT’s internationally leading expertise has been engaged in several studies on fire mitigation design to reduce fire risks and prevent structural collapse of offshore rigs operating in cantilever mode. 

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