Black swan or blind spot? The duality of extreme events
A black swan is characterised by Nassim Nicholas Taleb [Ref. 1] as an event which:
1. Is a surprise (to the observer), an 'extreme outlier'
2. Has a major impact
3. Is rationalised by hindsight, as if it could have been expected
Know your breaking point: the benefits of organisational stress testing
The term 'Stress Testing' has featured in the headlines over the past few years as authorities respond to the worldwide banking crisis and, more recently, the Fukushima nuclear power plant incident. Banks or operators of nuclear facilities have been required, or encouraged, to undertake 'Stress Tests' to assess the ability of their organisation to withstand extreme conditions.
A hazard missed is a hazard uncontrolled
"The identification of areas of vulnerability and of specific hazards is of fundamental importance in loss prevention. Once these have been identified, the battle is more than half won." (Frank Lees)
Applying modified HAZOPs to well testing
Hazard and Operability studies (HAZOPs) are widely used in the oil and gas industry to examine process systems, but less so for drilling, completion and well testing activities. This is typically because the traditional HAZOP applies process-based guidewords to Process & Instrumentation Diagrams (P&IDs), whereas drilling, completion and well testing activities are more procedurallybased and also use Well Test String Diagrams.
Lessons learned from 100s of HAZOPs…or how to get the most out of the HAZOP process
In the last issue of RISKworld we introduced some of the methods available to identify hazards associated with a process or design. One of the best known methods is the HAZOP (Hazard and Operability) study, which is an extremely useful technique for brainstorming hazards in a structured way.
Secrets of successful HAZOP scribing
Hazard and Operability (HAZOP) studies are one of the most commonly used hazard identification methods in the high hazard process industries. Experienced HAZOP leaders are crucial to the success of the study, bringing together their technical knowledge and team facilitation skills to ensure a comprehensive and accurate study. But the quality of the study, especially the output, is also highly dependent on the quality of the reporting, which is the work of the HAZOP scribe.
The rise and rise of liquefied natural gas
Natural gas comprises methane, ethane, propane and heavier hydrocarbons, plus small quantities of nitrogen, helium, carbon dioxide, sulphur compounds and water. Liquefied Natural Gas, or LNG, is produced by cooling natural gas to -160°C, once impurities such as water and carbon dioxide have been removed, which would otherwise solidify.
Hydrogen future: safety assessment of hydrogen facilities
Hydrogen is increasingly being used as a transport fuel in Fuel Cell Electrical Vehicles (FCEVs) thanks to its environmentally friendly nature and increasing availability from water electrolysis or steam reforming.
A rough guide to hydrogen sulphide
Around one-third of the world's gas fields contain 'sour gas', contaminated by sulphur compounds including hydrogen sulphide, also known as H2S. This gas is one of the most deadly hazards in the industry, making the fields more difficult to develop.