The LNG industry crosses an incessant growth period and floating natural gas liquefaction and regasification vessels have been considered as good options to improve the viability of gas supply. However, several safety issues can emerge from the operations developed in the LNG offshore units and it is necessary large technical expertise in different subjects to understand and manage all the risks that these projects can cause to personnel, environment and assets.
Risk Assessment is considered as an integral part of engineering design and it is carried out to assure a reasonable balance between facility cost, risk, and mitigation alternatives. The Risk Assessment can be defined as the practice of anticipating potential risks, analyzing them in terms of frequency of occurrence and likely consequences and finally, setting actions to prevent or mitigate accidental events. The value of Risk Assessment in the LNG field is seemingly limitless and it can be demonstrated that each issue concerning hazard scenarios in LNG installations is unique, so each solution has to be adopted accordingly. Thus, specific risk-based methodologies shall be performed for LNG Offshore installations in order to assist the process of achieving the necessary safety requirements of structures, equipment, space constraints, performance of simultaneous operations, etc. while taking into account the personnel surrounding the installation, assets, production and environment.
Additionally, risk-based methodologies are commonly used as basis to develop a successful Risk Management on LNG installations. On one hand, Hazard Identification (HAZID) and Hazard and Operability (HAZOP) studies aim to identify the different type of hazards and major accident events in a qualitative approach. On the other hand, Fire and Explosion Risk Analysis (FERA), Smoke and Gas Dispersion Analysis (SGDA) and Quantitative Risk Assessment (QRA) are examples of studies which are performed to predict the consequences of an undesirable event and quantify and evaluate the risk level of the installation so as to improve safety in an installation.
The application of the risk-based methodologies highlights the fact that each methodology has to be adapted to each specific project and that an efficient management will help companies to meet its corporate governance standards and comply with national and international laws to ensure personnel, assets and environmental safety as well as to achieve the required production availability.
Furthermore, it is important to note that the investment to improve the safety in the installation can be justified by performing risk and safety studies and consequently a greater confidence in performing process and transfer operations in LNG Offshore units is achieved by experts involved in LNG activities.
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