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PETROMAKS2-Stort program petroleum

Fire Simulation for Understanding and Prevention of Major Accidents

Alternative title: Brannsimulering for forståelse og forebygging av storulykker

Awarded: NOK 5.0 mill.

In the oil and gas industry the consequences of a fire can be catastrophic. Such accidents can lead to loss of many lives, serious pollution of the environment and total destruction of installations with accompanying enormous economic consequences. Catastrophic fires typically occur as a result of an escalation of an incident into new incidents with increasing risk of damages and loss of lives. In this way even small fires can develop into a catastrophe. To improve fire safety in the oil and gas industry advanced and reliable computational technology is needed to pre-design the fire safety measures. Altered conditions and new challenges related to life-time extensions of existing fields, exploration and production in future fields farther offshore and in more environmentally vulnerable regions result in a need for improved computational tools to ensure safety with regard to hazardous releases and fire. In this project, ComputIT has developed an advanced fire simulation tool which will contribute to improved fire safety and prevention of major accidents in the oil and gas industry. New and improved mathematical models and methods have been developed and implemented into the advanced fire simulator KAMELEON FIREEX KFX, which is recognized as the world leading industrial technology for detailed three-dimensional time-dependent simulations of fires in oil and gas installations onshore and offshore. KAMELEON FIREEX is a result of more than 40 years of research and development within turbulent flow and combustion at ComputIT, NTNU and SINTEF. The results from the project will give a detailed and very good safety-related basis for decisions related to design and operation of oil and gas installations, for example design and planning of escape routes, passive fire protection on critical structures, water-based extinction and fire mitigation systems, flare systems, operational conditions and more.

Uncontrolled fires are especially feared events in the oil and gas industry. Accidents happen with serious, sometimes dramatic consequences where lives are lost, facilities destroyed, environments contaminated, economics endangered and the credibility of the industry is at stake. Major or catastrophic fires typically occur as a result of escalation of one event into new events with escalating risk of damage. Improved, reliable predictive tools are needed to face challenges regarding new, or altered, fire risks related to field lifetime extensions and future exploration and production farther offshore and in more environmentally vulnerable regions. The primary objective of the present project is to develop an advanced fire simulation tool for better unders tanding of fire safety and prevention of major accidents in the oil and gas industry. The results of the project will create a reliable basis for decisions regarding personnel safety, facility integrity, fire mitigation means, fire safety design and opera tional conditions. Detailed predictions of the consequences of hydrocarbon releases and fire development, fire escalation and effects of water-based fire mitigation systems in realistic scenarios with complex geometries represent a tremendous challe nge due to the complex, interacting physical and chemical processes involved. In addition, a proper numerical treatment is required to obtain stable, reliable and accurate predictions within a reasonable amount of time. New and improved models and method s will be implemented into the advanced CFD simulation tool KAMELEON FIREEX KFX, which is based on about 40 years of R&D activities on turbulent flow and combustion at ComputIT, NTNU and SINTEF. The project will significantly improve current fire predict ion capabilities and contribute to increased fire safety, prevention of major accidents and a reduction of risk of negative environmental impacts from the oil and gas industry.

Activity:

PETROMAKS2-Stort program petroleum