Q&A with Lloyd's Register - FLNG rules & key recommendations for floating facilities

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Michael Dickin, Naval Architect, Lloyd’s Register
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Gastech News caught up with Michael Dickin, Naval Architect at Lloyd’s Register, about his presentation on “When designs outlive their designers: addressing challenges with FLNG units intended to remain on station for extended periods” at the CoTEs Programme at Gastech Singapore.

Gastech News: Michael, Lloyd’s Register and indeed you, have decades of experience in providing technical services for offshore units to international players. What are your recommendations when designing, constructing and operating floating facilities?

Michael Dickin: I have always felt that the biggest question facing industry is 'Do you know the background to...?'. The end of the question is often different, but the start of the question is always the same regardless of the company and project. Investing more in documenting the technical background to design decisions and in a format that can be understood by others is a prerequisite to achieving reductions in CAPEX and OPEX in the future. When original assumptions are well documented and understood, it becomes much easier to find ways to innovate. This gives the opportunity to challenge the initial decisions, perhaps some assumptions are no longer valid or we now have better methods to remove conservatism. When the background is lost, people tend to leave things the way they are which can mean inheriting inefficiencies unnecessarily.

Another recommendation, which is also related to my presentation, regards the starting point for new projects. Naturally most projects plan forward from the beginning of the design life. However, it is really beneficial to decide how you want the offshore unit to operate and be maintained towards the end of its life, then work backwards to establish the in-service support philosophy and design basis that will achieve this.

Gastech News: Lloyd's Register’s FLNG Rules are often amended to address new challenges, could you give us an update on their development progress?

Michael Dickin: We have made great progress over the last five years by having the opportunity to apply our rules to a number of innovative FLNG projects helping them optimise performance and reduce risk. This has led to two things. The first is experience-based prescriptive rules. Every project needs a solid framework and our rules provide this. The second is publishing guidance on risk-based analysis and inspection. We noted that there was real appetite in industry to optimise designs. Our guidance documents have focussed on supporting designers with a route to achieve this in a number of key areas.

Gastech News: You are giving a talk at Gastech’s CoTEs programme in October entitled “When designs outlive their designers: addressing challenges with FLNG units intended to remain on station for extended periods”. What can visitors expect to take away from your presentation?

Michael Dickin: I would like delegates to be inspired to rethink the concept of the 25-year design life. They can expect to take away some strategies to overcome the risks, challenges and uncertainties in designing and operating an offshore FLNG unit, which being a high CAPEX asset, is likely to remain in service in the region of 25 to 50 years. During the presentation we will have a look at applying lessons learnt from aging installations in the North Sea, current best practice and initiatives which could prolong operating life in the future. This will all be within twenty minutes, so be prepared for a fast ride.

Michael’s presentation will be on “When designs outlive their designers: addressing challenges with FLNG units intended to remain on station for extended periods" and is taking place on 28 October 2015 at 14:00 - 14:25 in the LNG & Gas Carrier Shipbuilding stream in Exhibition Theatre B as part of the CoTEs Seminar.

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