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New IOGP report: Recommended practice on obsolescence and life cycle management for automation systems

‘Your phone, computer, kitchen appliances and television are probably more sophisticated than ever before. At the same time, they are more interdependent, more software reliant and so more difficult to repair. And in many cases you can’t replace just one piece of equipment without consequences for the others. The same is true for automation systems associated with upstream oil and gas operations,’ says Statoil’s Audun Berg, Chair of the Standard Committee’s Obsolescence Management Task Force.

Which is why, he adds, the Association has developed a recommended practice to help automation system owners to take control of the life cycle of their investment.

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(Pictured: Audun Berg (third from left) and fellow Task Force members)

This recommended practice is intended to cover the complete automation systems both on greenfield development (new deliveries) and brownfield development (previously delivered equipment). This applies both onshore and offshore. The recommended practice also defines the proactive Obsolescence Management Process as it applies to automation systems for oil and gas producers, Auden says.

This is achieved by specifying the minimum requirements for automation systems suppliers; an overall approach on how to meet these requirements and how to manage the risks of obsolescence.

‘The Task Force responsible for the recommended practice had representation both from oil and gas producers as well as automation system suppliers,’ Auden notes. ‘In the first meeting, all participants presented their expectations of outcome of our work and helped to define the approach to be used to meet life cycle challenges. We used common elements from this first discussion as the basis for a first approximation of the document.’

The Task Force then developed its ideas through several rounds with comments and new drafts. ‘With the advent of commercially-off-the-shelf products included in automation systems, the perception of life cycle has changed radically. The Task Force members engaged whole-heartedly in the discussions, and through the work established a common understanding of the new challenges, and a set of concepts to be used in requirements development.

The life cycle terminologies were drawn from IEC62890, which is an emerging standard for life cycle management. We also dealt with expectations for component lifetimes and systems and set some ambitious goals,’ Audun says.

To broaden industry involvement, the Task Force established a wider network of oil and gas companies to become involved in discussions between meetings.

‘This contributed to both collection and dispersion of ideas. As Task Force Chair, I’d like to thank everyone involved, with special credit to Najlàa Yassine of Total, who did much of the editing of the recommended practice and succeeded in giving the document an overall unity.’

IOGP 551 is now available from the publications page of www.iogp.org

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