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9 More safe Total chooses optimum safety Total is a name that fires the imagination. The French oil and gas specialist is one of the ‘supermajors’, the six largest non-state-owned oil companies in the world. It has various production platforms in the North Sea, which are managed and maintained from the company’s main Dutch office in The Hague. In 2010, this office enlisted DEKRA’s help to check whether the electrical and mechanical protection systems on the platforms were compliant with ATEX Directives 95 & 137 on explosion hazards. Total has 25 North Sea platforms, both manned and unmanned. “We extract the gas and carry out limited processing on those platforms,” explains Evert Everts, Team Leader Electrical-Maintenance Support at Total. “Personnel stay on the platforms or on our mobile accommodation vessel, which moors alongside the unmanned platforms when they are due for maintenance. Each platform has a safety system. We operate various safety levels, the most drastic of which is a total blackout, when everything is shut down. That happens, for example, if a ship is adrift and comes within 500 metres of the platform.” Industry know-how The platforms were built before the European regulations were developed. “To investigate whether our platforms complied with the regulations and if necessary to bring them into compliance, we looked for a partner with industry know-how,” Everts explains. “DEKRA proved to have the right expertise. We started with a baseline measurement inspection of all Total platforms in the North Sea. DEKRA’s reports provided the basis for various corrective measures. We completed this phase at the end of 2013. It was followed by a GAP analysis that showed where we stood and what more we could achieve. We’re now setting to work on the basis of those results. It’s an intensive project. Project Manager Stephan Schaepman comes on site weekly to provide support. DEKRA is also providing input on new developments, such as the effect of using communication facilities on the platforms.” Clear directive The main objective of the collaboration between Total and DEKRA is to increase the explosion safety of the platforms. “We’re dealing with an explosive product,” says Erik Folgering, Cluster Manager Process Safety Benelux at DEKRA. “Total had already taken measures before the European legislation came into force. The ATEX directives now provide a clear guideline. Total is engaged in an enormous transition across Europe to comply with these requirements.” Steps The project at Total is extensive. “The first step involved testing a new platform on the basis of the ATEX directive,” says Folgering. “We checked the on-board instrumentation in an acceptance inspection, first onshore in docks and then again offshore. We also began inspections of the circa 20 existing platforms. In our test lab we investigated the extent to which steel cabinets had been affected by all those years out at sea.” The results showed that Total needed to take action to comply with the ATEX directive. “We’re sharing our knowledge to support Total in this process. Total can take well-informed decisions based on our findings, not only on the equipment, but also on the installation process. The project, which we call ‘More Safe’, started with a broad requirement. Now it has become much more specific and Total is well on the way to optimising its explosion safety.” Evert Everts, Team Leader Electrical-Maintenance Support at Total: “DEKRA proved to have the right expertise” Erik Folgering, Cluster Manager Process Safety Benelux at DEKRA: “Total can take well-informed decisions based on our findings”


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