DNV Publishes Guideline to Reduce Downtime Caused by Software

In order to support rig owners and operations in reducing downtime caused by integration and quality issues with software-intensive control systems, DNV is publishing a Recommended Practice.

As the rate of technology innovation increases, offshore rigs are becoming more and more dependent on complex software-intensive control systems. These are providing great opportunities but are also inducing new problems, often related to the commissioning, integration and operational phases.

Challenges often occur as there are many different components from a diverse group of suppliers required to work together. Successful development and integration is not always the case in this setting.

"The results of a software crash or integration issues may be a significant loss of revenue due to delayed rig commissioning and rig downtime. Misunderstandings about requirements and responsibilities often contribute to these problems. Furthermore, many critical integration and verification tasks 'fall through the cracks'," said Annie Combelles, the head of DNV's IT Global Services unit.

Recommended Practice Shares Knowledge

Due to these software related issues DNV is now publishing a Recommended Practice (RP) to help owners and operators deal with downtime and its impact on revenue. A first version of the "Integrated Software-Dependent Control Systems Recommended Practice (RP D-201)" was developed one year ago. It addressed the roles of owners, operators, system integrators and suppliers in ensuring that rigs work reliably upon delivery. Since then, DNV has worked closely with rig owners in Norway and the US to improve the performance of their rigs' control systems. Based on this cooperation and knowledge-sharing, an extended version of the RP is now available.

The RP identifies the technical and management activities critical to specifying, developing and maintaining a software-dependent control system. It provides a common framework for evaluating and improving the processes of all stakeholders. Practical guidelines are provided to assess integration risks and take into account functional as well as non-functional requirements.

Today, systems are so extremely complex that they cannot be fully tested anymore. "A new approach is needed for managing the increased complexity in software-embedded systems and to better manage commissioning. Therefore we have tried to capture best practices also from other industries so that companies can manage the quality and schedule better than we have observed in many cases," said Combelles.