Howard Duhon

SPE-173544-MS Risk Assessment in HAZOPs

A HAZOP is a team-based process hazard analysis (PHA) method. Its purpose is to identify hazards and operability issues in a process design. In some HAZOPs, identified issues are evaluated for risk. An effective risk assessment method allows the HAZOP participants and the project team to focus their time and energy on the more significant hazards.

Risk assessments in HAZOPs are typically performed using a simple risk matrix (Figure 2). In the risk matrix approach, participants make judgments as to the potential severity and the likelihood of an event. The combination of severity and likelihood indicates the risk. The risk matrix will often be color coded with green areas (OK), red areas (Unacceptable) and yellow areas (improvement suggested, subject to ALARP).

SPE-170824-MS Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) as a Catalyst for Culture Change

Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for oil and gas production facilities are typically written by teams of subject matter experts including at least process engineers and experienced operators.  The team is tasked with identifying the most effective ways to operate the facility (based on safety, environmental protection and economic measures).  Operating the facility consistently in accordance with the SOPs should yield considerable benefits.

Yet, despite their obvious importance, often relatively little effort goes into SOP development and use.

SOPs are frequently developed late in the project, after the design is completed and construction is well underway.  They may be used for little other than operator training.  Following the initial facility startup, they may even end up on a shelf collecting dust.  In this environment SOPs have little influence on either the design or the operation of the facility. 

SPE Summer Series Session 1

GATE is a proud sponsor for the SPE Summer Series Session 1 on Floating Production Systems. The summer series will offer one presentation each week for the next six weeks. For more information on the individual presetations, please click here: http://www.spegcs.org/events/2615/

PF&C Summer Lecture Series - Session 1: "Floating Production System Host Selection"

Speaker Dr. Wei Ma, Chevron ETC - Global Responses and Concept Engineering Technical Team Leader

Dr. Wei Ma received his Ph.D. degree in Naval Architecture and Offshore Engineering from University of California at Berkeley in 1995.

Session I of the Summer Series on “Floating Production Systems” presents an operator’s view on key drivers for floating production systems concept selection.  Technical aspects of the concept selection will be discussed via a demonstration of sizing a wet tree semi-submersible for a deep water field in the GOM.

Deep water will require a large portfolio of projects to be developed with floating production systems.  While FPSO vessels are expected to dominate the concept selection primarily from lack of pipeline infrastructure, semi-submersibles, spars, and tension leg platforms are often candidates for fields where existing infrastructures are available.  Many operators have a large portfolio of floating systems and continuously explore development opportunities that may require floating production systems to develop.

These sessions are perfect opportunities for either an introduction to Floating Production Systems for the engineer just starting in the industry, a refresher for the more seasoned individual, or just a great networking opportunity for those involved in this arena.  Each session is scheduled as a one (1) hour presentation followed by a thirty (30) minute Q&A period.

To register for individual lectures, click on the links below:

Session II - Introduction to FPSOs - July 9

Session III - Design and Construction of Tension Leg Platforms - July 16

Session IV - Introduction to Spars - July 23

Session V - Semisubmersible FPS Design Considerations - July 30

Session VI - Buoyant Tower - August 6

Note: Attendees will also be able to register for the sessions at the door. Member, non-member, and student prices for registration can be found using the above links.

Standard Operating Procedures Webinar

On Tuesday, April 22nd at 8:30 AM Howard Duhon, GATE’s Systems Engineering Manager will present a free SPE Webinar on writing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). SOPs are frequently developed late in the project, after the design is completed and construction is well underway.  They may be used for little other than operator training.  Following the initial facility startup, they may even end up on a shelf collecting dust.  In this environment SOPs have little influence on either the design or the operation of the facility.

This webinar will provide a high level summary of why SOPs are important and describe how GATE approaches the development of SOPs with the goals of improved design and improved, safer operation.

Howard Duhon, P.E., Nominated to SPE Board of Directors

GATE is pleased to announce that Howard Duhon, P.E., Systems Engineering Manager for GATE, Inc, has been nominated to the SPE Board of Directors.

Howard has 38 years of experience in the oil and gas industry, the past 12 years with GATE. His experience is mainly in process design and project engineering roles. For the past 15 years, that work has mainly involved deepwater developments and has been focused on managing the interfaces between topsides and other disciplines.

He earned a BS degree in chemical engineering from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Throughout his career he has had a particular interest in the study of decision theory and in the application of that knowledge to improve project execution.

To read more about the nominees,click here.

SPE 141982 - Stream-based HAZOP - A More Effective HAZOP Method

Abstract 2011, H.J. Duhon

The Hazard and Operability Study (HAZOP) is probably the most commonly applied process hazard analysis method. As such, HAZOPs are a very important tool for improvement of process safety. But HAZOPs are not as effective as they should be. Duhon and Sutton (SPE 120735, 2010) identified many reasons why we don’t learn all we should from HAZOPs. These insights suggest a path towards a more effective HAZOP process.

The process described here differs from the standard HAZOP process in several important ways. The most important difference is the definition of stream-based nodes rather than equipment-based nodes. In a stream-based node, a stream is followed from its inception to its logical conclusion. This is especially useful when considering flow deviations, because a flow disruption in any part of the stream affects all parts or at least all downstream parts of the stream. These stream-based nodes are much larger than typical equipment-based nodes and hence overcome the tendency of HAZOPs to create tunnel vision.

HAZOPs are supposed to evaluate operability, but that can’t be done effectively without reviewing the operating procedures or at least discussing how the system will be operated. There is no point in a typical HAZOP, because small nodes are selected, in which the procedures can be effectively introduced. Stream-based nodes provide a natural bridge to the procedures. High level operating procedures can be introduced during the stream-based node discussion providing an opportunity to do a Process HAZOP and a Procedure HAZOP simultaneously. A Procedure HAZOP often provides more insight than the Process HAZOP.

Source: SPE Americas E&P Health, Safety, Security, and Environmental Conference, 21-23 March 2011, Houston, Texas, USA

Copyright 2011. Society of Petroleum Engineers

SPE 123790 - Planning and Procedures for the Initial Startup of Subsea Production Systems

2010 Summary, H.J. Duhon, J.L. Garduno, and N.A. Robinson, GATE

Projects progress through phases of design, construction, installation, commissioning, initial startup, and operations. This paper addresses issues that arise at initial startup. Initial startup is defined here as the period when reservoir hydrocarbons are produced for the first time.

Initial startup of a subsea development is one of the most challenging periods in the operational life of the facility. Many issues complicate this period, including

People issues. Many people from many teams are required to execute a startup; roles and responsibilities may be unclear and will change over the course of the startup; persons-onboard (POB) issues limit the number of people who can participate; personnel involved may not be fully trained in the operation of the facility.

This will be the first time much or all of the equipment is used in live hydrocarbon service. Design flaws, commissioning omissions, and infant mortalities will reveal themselves.

Preserving completion integrity requires low rates and slow bean-ups during initial startup because of high formation skin. Chokes designed for high rates and low pressure drops may not be capable of controlling the well at low rates. Also, topside systems designed for peak rates may not function well at low flow rates.

Low flow rates and low initial temperatures result in hydrate risk, which may challenge the flow-assurance strategy.

Completion and stimulation fluids returned during the initial well cleanup are corrosive and are difficult to treat. Typically, specialized water-treatment equipment is installed temporarily at topside to treat these fluids. The flowback fluids may also contain solids from the reservoir and from construction debris that may cause problems such as plugging small ports in control valves.

Source: SPE Projects, Facilities & Construction, Volume 5, Number 4, December  2010

Copyright 2010. Society of Petroleum Engineers

SPE 120735 - Why We Don't Learn All We Should From HAZOPs

2010 Summary, Howard J. Duhon, SPE, GATE, and Ian Sutton, AMEC Paragon

During the last 15 years, the process industries have made dramatic improvements in occupational safety. Recordable injury rates have dropped by close to an order of magnitude (Pitlblado 2008). Accurate information pertaining to progress in process safety in the same time period is not available. However, it is likely that improvements in process safety are not nearly so great (Sutton 2010).

From its beginnings in the late 1980s and early 1990s, hazards analysis has been a key item in all process safety programs. After all, if hazards are not identified, they cannot be remediated. Of the various hazards-analysis techniques, the Hazard and Operability Method (HAZOP) has probably gained the greatest acceptance. Therefore, if the process industries are to achieve the same levels of success in process safety as they have in occupational-safety improvements, the effective use of HAZOPs is probably going to be of central importance.

This paper discusses some of the cognitive, social, organizational, and procedural factors that limit the effectiveness of projects in general and of HAZOPs in particular. From this discussion, insights can be developed that can provide ideas for improving the HAZOP process and process-safety-management systems in general.

Source: SPE Projects, Facilities & Construction, Volume 5, Number 2, June  2010

 

SPE 123790 - Planning and Procedures for the Initial Startup of Subsea Production Systems

2009 Abstract, H.J. Duhon, J.L. Garduno, and N.A. Robinson, GATE, LLC

Initial startup of a subsea development is one of the most challenging periods in the operational life of the facility.  Many issues complicate this period.  These include:

  • People issues: a great many people from many teams are required to execute a startup; roles and responsibilities may be unclear and will change over the course of the startup; persons on board (POB) issues limit the number of people who can participate; personnel involved may not be fully trained in the operation of the facility.
  • This will be the first time much or all of the equipment is used in live hydrocarbon service.   Design flaws, commissioning omissions and infant mortalities will rear their heads.
  • Preserving completion integrity requires low rates and slow bean-ups during initial startup because of high formation skin.  Chokes designed for high rates and low pressure drops may not be capable of controlling the well at low rates.  Also, topsides systems designed for peak rates may not function well at low flowrates.
  • Low flowrates and low initial temperatures result in hydrate risk which may challenge the flow assurance strategy.
  • Completion and stimulation fluids returned during the initial well cleanup are corrosive and are difficult to treat.  Specialized water treatment equipment is typically installed temporarily on topsides to treat these fluids.

Source: SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, 4-7 October 2009, New Orleans, Louisiana

Copyright 2009. Society of Petroleum Engineers

SPE 110211 - Why It Is Difficult To Learn Lessons: Insights from Decision Theory and Cognitive Science

2008 Summary, H.J. Duhon, SPE, and J.S. Elias, Gibson Applied Technology and Engineering

Though engineers and managers routinely express the desire to learn from previous project experience, we typically do not learn effectively from our projects. The failure to learn valid and valuable lessons from project experiences can be attributed to a number of cognitive and social factors.

Fortunately, a great deal of literature in the fields of decision theory and cognitive science is relevant to the subject. Unfortunately, much of this literature is unknown to most practicing engineers. This paper presents a structured method for identifying learning limits, an introduction to current thinking in areas of knowledge required to implement the method, a summary of the results of applying of the method, and suggestions for improving our ability to learn from project experiences.

Source: SPE Projects, Facilities & Construction, Volume 3, Number 3, September  2008

Copyright 2008. Society of Petroleum Engineers

SPE 110205 - Successful Application of Chemical Injection Rate Control Valves

2007 Abstract, H.J. Duhon, SPE, and K.M. Annadorai, SPE, Gibson Applied Technology and Engineering

This paper presents an overview of a systems approach to the design and troubleshooting of IRCVs (Injection Rate Control Valves) used in deepwater chemical injection systems.  The inherent problems associated with these simple flow regulators stem largely from the failure of design engineers to take a systems view in design.  Along with the application of lessons learned from previous IRCV system failures, this systems approach provides a design method which will allow users to avoid many of the pitfalls inherent in design, installation, testing, commissioning and operation of IRCV systems.

Source: SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, 11-14 November 2007, Anaheim, California, U.S.A.

Copyright 2007. Society of Petroleum Engineers

NACE 05633 - The Impact of Reservoir Souring upon Decision Processes Made During the Design of New Deepwater Developments

2005 Abstract, Lee C. Jordan, Justin P. Landry, Howard Duhon, and Grant T. Gibson, GATE LLC

This paper presents an overview of the impact of potential future reservoir souring and associated H2S production on the design decisions that must be made during the development of a deepwater production asset. The problem is inherently one of decision making under uncertainty, as determination of the likely magnitude of reservoir souring is a process requiring review of a large number of variables and the application of predictive techniques of limited accuracy. This paper reviews some of the practical uncertainties involved in predicting souring and identifies how these subsequently impact design and operability issues. By exhaustively identifying design objectives in the form of an objectives map it is possible to assess the impact of souring on all aspects of the design. Best practice approaches to risk management and mitigation are also presented in relation to the design of both water injection and production facilities.

Source: CORROSION 2005, April 3 - 7, 2005 , Houston, Tx

Copyright 2005. NACE International