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Society of Petroleum Engineers

SPE 27234
E&P Forum: Leak and Ignition Frequency Data Base
M.J. .Priest, Shell Intl. Petroleum Mij.B.V., and H.J. Grundt, Statoil AJS

Sociew of Pelmleni EW!,96.

TM. Paj+r was p+w.md

25-27 Jauav 1994,

for pre~eoialbn


a $6. Saond



o. Health, Ssfelq & Environrmm 10011 & L% Exploration & Prcdutilon held in Jakarta, lndmm$la

rni pap.. was mlaed

for Prasmta!lm by an SPE Program Conmmte? folbwhg mvkw of i.tirmalio. W.lainti In an ab,fraa -[u+.
by she au,hWS). a,!..?,
Of m, P,PSI.
as Presented, be
not been mviawed by MB Sc.c!sly 01 P#m+9um En@n6+F ?nd am SUV,M 10 correc$lo by lhe a!hcds). ?ha m.stefid, as Pr@$eted, does Ot nsce$sarW Mlany FGwo. of ?he Society of Pmmleum mg!mews, It%ommm, or membm. Paws prnsemed ai SPE moml.w are sublnu m wb~cation r..lw! W Eatorial commit-es of the S.detv
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0( where and by whom me P9pec is pfeaa.md. Write Llbrwian, 8PE, P.O. Box 823538, Richardson, TX 75W?-3836 U..SA. Telex, IB3245 SPELT.

One of the le,ast rehhle quantified risk assessment
(QRA) data areasfor the offshore oil and gas exploration and production business is hydrocarbcm leak
and ignition frequency data. The potential impact of
this lack of reliable data is that large investments in
risk reduction measures may be being made inappropriately in some areas whilst insufficient investments
may he being made in ot,hers. E&P Forum members
recognised this and set EP.?lirni@d in.@e@2mj@
(LIP) in 199.1 to.iniprotie these data. The first phase of
the project was completed in 1992 mth the issue of a
data base (in paper form) and guide-lines for data collection. The data base was prepared using. only the
limited amount of data readily available from E&P
Forum LIP members, the project contractors own
records and the public domain. Although these are
probably tie best data available to date, it is considered that significant improvement is required,
The second phase of theproje~ staled @th the.signing ofa eciitractbetween
E&P Ftmum and DNV
Technics early 1993 to Wt u-p i continuous worldwide data collection scheme and a computerised data
base system. Eleven E&P Forum members have
joined this LIP to .dite. World-wide data collection
from offshore oil and gas fields is planned to ~om.
mence in the fourth quarter of 1993. The Offshore Safety Division of the UK Health--~d
Safety Executive (HEiE-OSD) is setting up a similar
data base to collect data@n
we. UK ~<ntinIfital Shelf
(UKCS) in iccordatiie with the Cullin report recommendation No. 35 The E&P Forum and the HSE-OSD
are in close contact to ensure tkt these data bases are
compatible. Other national governments are monitoring
the development of the project with interest.

This project represents a unique opportunity for

sharing experiences.,.to reduce risk exposure and
avoid costly incidents. This paper summarises the
status of the project, gives information on the type of
data which is planned to be collected and invites
other comr)anies to .ioin the moiect for the mutual
benifit.of all.


The oil and gas industry has always been aware
that exploration and production offshore inherently
carry greater risks than onshore and has, in consequence tried to reduce these risks. Since the Piper
Alpha disaster in 1988, far more structure has been
put into this risk reduction
effort through the
of safety management
systems and
safety cas.is. Much thought has and is being put
into the management of hazards at all stages in the
development and operation of offshore projects. The
majority of the offshore indust~ today has realised
that in order to achieve the objective of reducing
risks to as low a level as reasonably practicable
(the so called ALARF principle), use bas often to be
made of Quantitative Risk Assessment (QRA) techniques. The use of QRA is heavily dependent on
various types of frequency and probability. data
and, in consequence, the conclusi,ms of the studies
are affected by the reliability of these data. One of
the important sources of risk on offshore facilities
are leaks of hydrocarbons. However, the available
leak and ignition data reliability
is rather poor.
The potential impact of this lack of reliable data is
that large investments in risk reduction measures
may be being made inappropriately
in some areas
whilst insuff~cient investments may be being made
in others.


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i c..




Piper Alpha recommended that this was one of the

Recommendation No. 39).

The currently available hydrocarbon leak and ignition

data come from many different sources in the onshore
petrochemical, nuclear and offshore industries. Most
companies report and collect considerable amounts of
so called event data, i.e. data on actual leaks.
However, these data are not usually reportad in a consistent manner and are mainly limited to the more
,serious leaks with a bias to those that have become
ignited, In order to be able to use data in QRA studies,
event data alone are insufficient. The so called population data, i.e. the numbers of different pieces of
equipment which could possibly leak on the facilities
from Which event data are being collected, are also
required. To date, very, few high quality population
data have been. collected. Provided the amount of data
collected is large. enough, the historic leak frequency
for that particular type of equipment approximates to
a functi6n of the ratio. of event to population data.
These frequency data are the type of data required in
QRA studies. Another shortcoming with the current
data is the lack of reliable hole size information.
Without this, any estimates of the. consequences. of
potential hydrocarbon leaks in QRA studies wZll he
very unreliable. Very few data exist about the probability ofigiiition and the relationship between hole
size and leak frequency. In summary, the main deficiencies of the currently available data are:





In an attempt to improve this situation, the E&P

Forum QRA data workgroup setup a limited interest
project (LIP) in 1991 which was charged with the cre.
ation and management of a world-wide hydrocarbon
leak aud ignition frequency data base.
The first phase of the project was sponsored by twelve
companies with Technics as the consultant. Phase
one wascompleted in February 1992 +withthe production of three reports, namely

Gwdelin es for Hydrocarbon Leak and Ignition Data


+ Hydrocarbon Leak and Ignition Database

Calibration of HC Leak Frequency

Probability Data.

and Ignition

Fhe database and the calibration document are based

]n data provided from the LIP sponsors,
own records and tbe public domain.
Although the data base is probably the best leak and
ifiition data currently available, the data base is so
small that it cim not be considered to be very reliabIe.
Ibe main deliverable of pliase one of the project was
;he data collection guidelines.

- Lack of population
data and poor consist.e.ncy
between event and population data. The consistent
link between event data and population data is
essential for the estimation of leak frequencies.

SPE 27234

Little detailed information about the size of the

leak, In most cases only a subjective meiiurii for
the severity or magnitude Ofthe.incident is recorded. An objective measure of theleak size is important for conseqi~niz rn-o-delliiqjiii QRA work.

rhese guidelines lay the foundation for phase two of

he project, namely the collection of world-wide data
md the development of a high quality offshore hydrocarbon leak and ignition freauenc.y data base for use.
n QW studies.

Insufficient- h-~ormatlom IS recorded to produce predictions of the Mselihood of ignitiori. In most cases
information related to ignition ii only recorded when
ignitiori occurs. In order to understand and estimate
the. probabiliti& bf ignition of a release it is important to record information from which the presence
sotirteticaribi derived (e.g. type
of operation, system typeetc) for-ill leaks.

rhis second phase of the project commenced in March

1993 arid is sponsored by eleven companies. DNV
Pechnica won the contract to manage the project.


!he population data will be collected and stored in a
hree level hierarchical data base.

The equipment population within i siiigle company

is not large enough to produce reliable frequency
of detii]
and probability-estimates
to tbe level
required in QRA(,lydrocarhon releases are relatively infrequent). Very little, if any, pooling of data
between companies is cai?ied out.

?he three data levels are

Installation Data

Tbe lack of good data. has been recognisedb~.the

industry for some time. Lord Cullen in his report on

System Data

. Equipment Data



SRQ 72j 4


The hierarchical stmcture

in figure 1 below:



of the data base is shown

The data will be collected on pro forma questionnaires for both the population and the event data by
the LIP member company: The data will be input into
the central
data base by the consultant
Technics. Population data will be collected either .by
counts, drawings or CAD
(Computer Aided Design)
system outputs.
overview of the proposed data flow with indications of
which data are to be collectad off and onshore is tiven
in figure 2 below:




:-,. .=




m, UC+ Ww


FEED*,C4 ,.

. .







. .. .

For each offshore iristallation (Platform, MODU etc.)

there will be


one set of installation data defining the type of

installation (fixed, mobile, subsea), its geographical
location, manning.level. and stsrt-up date, with



,On .CH men







as many sets of. system data as there are systams

(examples of systems are oil and gas separation
trains, gas compression trains, utilities ett)=id




Figure 2

More advanced data will be recorded for each event

than is customary to date, with special emphasis on
information from which the leak size ch be estimated. Information rezardinc the t.yue ofoDerationbeine
at tie tire-e of the leak will also be
required. As the aim is t.a create a reliable data base,
considerable attention will be paid to the quality control of the data prior to its input into the data baae.
Advice on data collection methods will be provided.

a list of equipment for most of the systems (e.g.

valves, flanges, piping, pressure vessels, pumps,
compressors etc.)

Each equipment data item will be stored in such a

way that the system and installation
to which it
belongs tire known to the data base. Where appropriate, the numbers and types of drilling and well operations will be collected annually.
Information on each hydrocarbon leak, i.e. event
data, will be recorded using the same biirarchical
taxonomy as the population data so as to ensure an
unambigtiotis link between. the two types of data.
Leak frequencies.+ can only be generated
for the
descriptive items which are e.ommon to both the popu--Iation and event data.
Considerable effort has been made to ensure. that the
system boundaries are clearly defined so that the possibility of double counting or omitting equipment data
is kept at a minimum. The level of detail in the popu:
lation data base has been determined as a balance
between tbe difflctilty and expense: of collection compared with the benefits to be gained from the data.



[n parallel with the E&P Forum activities., the
Offshore Safety Division if the UK Health and Safetj
Executive (HSE-OSD) is also in tha procws of creating
a hydrocarbon leak and ignition data baae for the offshore installations operating on the UK Continental
Shelf (UKCS) as recommended by the Cullen report
Cullen Recommendation No. 39). The HSE-CF3Dpiti~
iect is being carried out in co-operation
with UK
:ndustry and is being steered by a joint working party
]n failure rate data consisting of the HSE-OSD~
UKOOAafid M.DCA3ROA with E&p Fmum md s=
at%liates (representing tbe UK risk assessment consukants) having observer status. The E&p Fm.um md


HSE-OSDproj&cts are in close contact wifi each othe]

in order to ensure compatibility between. the datz
bases. It is planned to transfer the UKCS data from
the HSE-OSD data base into the E&P Forum world.
wide data base ona regular basis. Mid 1993, the HSE.
OSD organised a pilot population data gatherin{
scheme on five iri$tallations. The lessons learnt from
this ex.eriise ire biirig used in the planning of th[
main populatiori data gathering schemes for both the
HSE-OSD and E&P Forum.data bases.

E&P Forum




Tbe preparato~ work to define the data base strue

ture, data quality plan, data collection guidelines aiic
questionnaires bas been carried out. The event dab
questionnaire has been finalised and data collection
is about to commence. The population data base ques.
tionnairi is expected to be firmed up early 1994 once
the UK HSE-OSD data base definition is finalised. In
order to reduce the population data collection costs,
the most likely strategy will be to collect installation
and system data for most of the LIP membem off.
shore facilitfei., The more exDensive-to-collect eauiD. .
ment data will then only be collected on selected
facilities whicl typify the Facilities in an area. &pica.]
equipment counts per system type will then be gener.
ated and used. to expand the population data base to
include those facilitie< for which only installation and
system data have been collectad.


SPE 27234


British Rig Owners Association.

Oil Industry
Exploration and Production Forum.
Offshore Safety ,Division of the United
Kingdom Health and Safety Executive.
Association of Drilling
Limited Interest Project (This is a term
used to denote a project which is directly subscribed to by a limited number of
E&P Forum members).
Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit
Quantified Risk Assessment
Safety and Reliability Society.
Maatschappij B.V.
United Kingdom Offshore Operators
UK Continental Shelf


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The authors wish to thank E&P Forum and the sponsors of the proj&t for permission to publish this work.
The project sponsors are:
Amerada Hess Ltd *
AGIP s.p.a.
Amoco Production Company International
Assomineraria (Italian Oil Industry Association) *
BP Exploration Company Ltd *
British Gas Exploration & Production Ltd *
Chevron UK Ltd
Comma Inc. *
Enterprise Oil plc. *
Exxon Corporation *
Marathon Oil Company *
OLF (N6riieg5ti Oil Industry Association) *
Shell Intemationale Petroleum Maatschappij B.V. *
Statoil *
Texaco International Petroleum Company


Once the.data base bas been setup and data started

to be collected, consideration till be given to handing
over the. data base management ta another independent industry body so as to free .up E&P Forum
resources for the identification aid initiatiori of other
beneticialjointintlustry projects.
The reliability of the dati base will depend to a large
extent on its size. Consequently, the more contributors to the scheme, the better will be the data basa
All oil and gas producing conipinies are tber.efore
invited to join the project. Further information on
how to participate ii the project can be obtained from
the E&P Forum offices m London.

NB * denotes sponsor of phase two LIP.