MCS Masters Integrity Management as MMS Regulations Come into Force

Global subsea engineering company, MCS, is launching its comprehensive integrity management package at OTC to help operators comply with new Minerals Management Service (MMS) regulations in the Gulf of Mexico.

The company believes that their unrivalled experience and advanced subsea engineering capabilities in integrity management could lead to new business in the Gulf of Mexico in excess of $5 in three years.

With ten years of integrity management around the world, MCS has gained practical field experience, leant from shared industry practice and developed advanced engineering solutions to the problems of ensuring the integrity of complex subsea systems required to extract hydrocarbons in increasingly deeper waters.

The package comprises a pro-active approach to integrity management, involving inspection, predictive engineering, data collection and analysis, as well as reporting. MCS has developed a software tool called ThruLife which allows operators and regulatory authorities, such as MMS, to see the exact status of a subsea system at a glance, showing evidence of fitness for on-going use which enables planning for repair or replacement.

"With subsea projects being developed in increasingly deeper waters and more demanding locations, the challenges associated with the inspection, repair and on-going integrity assessment of these assets are getting harder," says MCS' Kieran Kavanagh. "As a result it is more important than ever for the industry to re-evaluate integrity management if safety and operability are to be ensured with escalating costs."

ThruLife was developed as a result of high level survey of the subsea industry in 2006 which captured current industry thinking, including lessons learnt and new data about flexible pipe and steel catenary risers.

This next generation integrity management software interrogates all field data relating to integrity in a single repository providing an at-a-glance status on the integrity of key components. It intelligently analyses the data, assesses changes in integrity status and visually reports back to the end user both strategic and detailed information.

Mr Kavanagh adds: "Typically the vast quantity and range of data required in integrity management resides in separate databases making cross-referencing difficult and resulting in considerations being made in isolation. ThruLife brings all this data together to allow a full picture of the integrity of all the components while subsea."

ThruLife is designed to work with flexible and fixed risers, umbilicals, manifolds, pipelines, trees, controls, valves and mooring systems.

Mr Kavanagh adds: "Our pro-active approach backed up with Thrulife ensures that risers are inspected and monitored to mitigate risks in terms of safety and the environment as well as the protection of the client's capital expenditure in these systems.

"Too often integrity management is seen as something required by the regulators and risk assessment or strategies are only dug out if an incident occurred. Systems in place to collect the data required may not be followed up with analysis or review.

"However, operators are increasingly seeing the benefits of operating an integrity management strategy with an up-front investment that has the potential to save significant costs in the long-run. These benefits include long-term field planning for life extension or replacement, reduced inspection costs, future design benefits, increased system up-time and availability and rationalisation of spare equipment. "

MCS has been involved in over 90% of the UK North Sea's FPSO projects involving flexible pipe.

In addition to MCS' experience in developing and implementing integrity management strategies for flexible and rigid pipe subsea systems in the North Sea and internationally, the company has been involved in writing the industry guidelines on flexible pipe integrity management and leading a joint industry project specifically focused on the subject. This extensive experience has positioned them as leading experts in integrity management strategies for subsea systems.

MCS now has almost 200 people working across offices in Galway, Aberdeen, Houston, Rio de Janeiro, Perth (Australia), Paris and Kuala Lumpur.