CREATING a standardised system for qualification of subsea technology is key to driving the faster take up of new technologies, classifications company DNV GL says in a new position paper.

Released by DNV GL’s strategic research and innovation unit, Subsea system qualification: Towards a standardised approach says that current subsea technology qualification (TQ) processes can be inefficient, time consuming and feature variations in methodology.

It proposes a joint industry effort to create a re-qualification method for already qualified technologies being reused in similar systems or under slightly different operating conditions, as well as to demonstrate confidence in new subsea systems.

Building this would require the establishment of common industry principles and a common framework for system qualification in the first instance, the report said.

Secondly, industry groups must develop a methodology to standardise system qualification for common use across the upstream oil and gas industry and, thirdly, that methodology must be demonstrated, with the roll-out of a recommended practice to follow.

Lead author of the paper Tore Myhrvold said trends pointed towards more complex systems which require integrating process, power, and control systems subsea.

“Assuring safety and reliability on a system level is critical when interfaces become more complex and system integration failures are harder to identify,” he said.

“Developing a standardised approach to subsea technology qualification will enable companies to leverage on each other’s qualification efforts and results, reduce the overall development time and ultimately enable faster innovation in the subsea sector.”

The paper recommends increasing qualification efforts in the early phases of development to reduce the risk of later failures during factory acceptance tests and system integration tests.

It also suggests that numerical or analytical models could prove to be cost effective and safe alternatives to physical testing, or be used together with existing methods.

“By using non-intrusive numerical modelling tools to establish a common modelling platform, a wide variety of validated models can be used in the system qualification to virtually test system operational ranges and failures,” DNV GL said.

These would be most effective where the sheer number of possible system failure states could be difficut to cover in a traditional qualification test scope, the report said.

Using methodologies developed by the maritime industry to qualify a ship’s safety critical control systems could be a good starting point for how to do system qualification testing based on models, it said.