Management of Major Accident Risk through the Planning Process of Offshore Maintenance Activities: Contributions to the understanding of operational risk in the oil and gas industry
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The overall objective of this thesis is to explore how major accident risk can be managed through the planning process of offshore activities. This objective was decomposed into three research questions. The relations between the planning process and major accidents were studied. Factors that can influence both planning and the plans were identified and presented to the industry. These were discussed with respect to challenges for managing major accident risk and for improving the planning process. Information and assessments required for decision support in critical steps of the planning process were explored, and a new concept for risk visualization was developed to enhance major accident risk understanding when planning offshore work. Through the studies we identified that major accident risk can be better managed through the planning process by - improving todays planning process to allow risks to be assessed earlier, - improving how risk and barrier management is integrated within the planning process, - using a common information carrier for the plans accessible to all personnel involved in both planning and execution of work - enhancing risk communication through the planning process exemplified through the risk visualization concept developed. The main contributions of the work include - Identification of factors that can influence both the planning process and plans being made, with respect to major accidents. - Documentation of industry challenges in managing major accident risk through the planning process and possibilities to address several of these challenges. - Documentation of which risk-related information and assessments are required for decision support in several critical steps of the planning process to manage major accident risk. - A new concept for risk visualization which integrates planning of work orders and work permits with risk and barrier management data to enhance understanding and communication of major accident risk related to the planned work to all personnel involved in both planning and execution of offshore work. The concept allows for better hazard identification than systems in use today. The thesis illustrates that the planning process for offshore maintenance activities can better manage major accident risks through improving risk understanding and communication with use of new and innovative designed information systems.