Modelling Technical Breakdown

Almost as soon I start talking to clients about Mermaid, one of the first things I’ve always said is, “This is a weather risk analysis tool; it doesn’t take technical breakdown into account – that’s something you’ll have to model yourself.”

Having said that, risk of technical breakdown is a real and common problem for us and our clients. We’ve had projects put at serious risk due to failures in the ability of equipment to perform, requiring repair on-site, in the middle of critical tidal windows. It’s no game when you need to know whether your make-or-break project is viable or not. Standard engineering practice promotes performing FMEAs on operations, but determining the “E”, the effect of a failure on the overall operation, can be non-trivial.

Particularly when you start to consider the impact of missing a good weather window due to breakdown, it’s essential that you get it right.

So, in response to these internal demands and client requests, we’ve devised a two-mode philosophy to modelling technical breakdown in Mermaid. They use the same modelling mechanism, but operate in different ways.

There are two major types of operations that get modelled in Mermaid: The first is short-term, one-off operations, where the duration of the offshore works is in the order of days. In these operations, an equipment failure can have a sudden and catastrophic impact, perhaps doubling the length of the operation, or worse. An example of this kind of operation is laying foundations for a pilot array, or repairing a single cable in an emergency. The second is long-term, where a set of operations is repeated time and time again in a range of locations. In these operations, equipment failure is expected to happen at some point, and the key question that needs to be answered is: “What is the effect of reliability on the overall cost and duration of the operation?” An example of this kind of operation is a large bathymetric or geological survey, where the reliability of survey equipment is central to the operation.

To handle the modelling of such technical breakdowns, we’ve added the idea of “Occasional Tasks” and “Occasional Groups” to Mermaid. This feature is being released next week, and to find out more please come back tomorrow and take a look.