Well Design Assurance: An Independent Compliance Evaluation Scheme

Rios, Renato (Lloyd's Register) | Johnstone, Kris (Lloyd's Register) | Robb, Dave (Lloyd's Register) | Walsh, Frank (Lloyd's Register) | Davies, Phil (Lloyd's Register)



Over the past decade, three mega-trends have created a groundswell of worldwide demand for government regulations on well construction activities. The first, hydrocarbon exploration and production in remote places and in reservoirs that are difficult to access and/or produce. The second, technology developments that have gradually redefined the boundaries of "conventional" in the different codes of practice. And the third, and perhaps the most important, is the renewed and urgent focus on environmental impact and sustainability, hastened by the rise of alternative sources of energy and the industry's serious and preventable incidents.

In addition, as organizations cut costs and make their best to navigate the low oil-price environment, there is an admitted concern of regulators (e.g. BSEE, HSE and PSA, 2017) that such optimization could result in squeezed margins in assets, operating systems and organizations. In response, regulators have moved toward standardization. Most operators have welcomed this approach, as criteria for approvals are clearer and equipment development costs decrease as a result of the shared functional specifications.

For well construction, one of the key industry initiatives to address the major system level risks relies on independent Well Design Verification/Assurance. It consist on applying disciplined engineering processes to examine a given design and analytically determine conformity with requirements (after API TR 17T8, 2015). The specified requirements include the mechanical integrity, life cycle service, and other survability requirements. This tool is an independent compliance assessment.

This paper describes the approach, major elements and high key considerations derived from accumulated experience of performing independent Well Design Verification for different clients and operators around the world.