Updated: Jul 6, 2022
Two incidents made our linkedin feeds this week, both of which are receiving regulatory and social media attention.
The first: According to Nauticus Live, Australia's Shell Prelude FLNG recently suffered a blackout on the main power system, and the backup diesel generator was not immediately available, "affecting certain amenities onboard."
Secondly, The Times of Israel reported the Leviathan platform had an unplanned flaring event as a result of a "power glitch".
These events, on opposite sides of the globe, raise a couple of questions:
1. What happened? Has the root cause of the power failure been identified? Can the industry be confident the lessons will be transferred from these facilities to other similar facilities around the world?
2. What could have been done to prevent it? Are there options to prepare in advance of adverse power events and to ensure the continued safe operation of a facility during and after a "power glitch"?
The first question is a function of the industry's willingness to admit there is a problem. IMCA's DP Station-keeping Incident Log is a great example of industry learning, similar initiatives implemented in other arenas are proving successful.
The second question? That we CAN help with.
These systems aren't designed to lose power. They are built by very talented design and project engineers to a standard which should ensure they can maintain operation through a variety of faults. These systems are designed to isolate the fault to the smallest portion of the system possible and to protect the mission of the facility. When that design is not comprehensively verified and validated, failures like these above are seen.
Let's be clear - a good testing regime is not a simple exercise, particularly on facilities with the complexity of the two examples above. There are a number of steps and protocols that should be undertaken. Some examples are below:
Primary Injection Testing: This style of testing, injecting high current into the system to confirm protection installation regularly identifies the styles of commissioning errors which could cause the cascading failures observed on the Prelude and Leviathan facilities.
Fault Ride Through Testing: Using our unique testing solutions OneStep Power can provide production facilities with the assurance of their system's reliability.
Our engineering team has the utmost respect for the engineering and design teams who have developed these remarkable facilities. Being able to keep your facilities safe and out of the news is our key goal.
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