Shell UK North Sea Shearwater platform

The future of verification: fast, efficient and data-driven

Sep. 2 2019 - 5 min

With North Sea installations varying in age and lifecycle, Shell UK requires independent verification to demonstrate that it is operating safely and under full regulatory compliance. Graeme Wylie, Technical Integrity and Verification Team Lead for Shell explains.

At Shell, verification plays an important role in how the company manages safety on its assets on the UK Continental Shelf.

“Ageing facilities and ever-changing organizations mean independent verification is more important than ever.  At Shell, it plays a key part in our ability to demonstrate clearly that we are safe to continue to operate as well as ensuring full regulatory compliance” says Graeme Wylie, Technical Integrity and Verification Team Lead for Shell.

“Our current North Sea offshore portfolio consists of seven fixed installations and a host of normally unmanned installations. We require a number of different verification services ranging from operational, plant modifications, Safety Case and performance standard material changes to platform combined operations and decommissioning.”

Bureau Veritas has been Shell’s contracted independent verification body (IVB) for over ten years. The work includes operational verification of each asset via site visits and onshore maintenance management audits and verification of major changes including decommissioning.

Graeme highlights a concrete example of the benefits of independent verification: “Recently, Bureau Veritas identified some gaps in our performance standard management. This resulted in a company-wide improvement project.”

To help Shell accomplish its verification objectives, Bureau Veritas recently introduced a new online tool: BV Compliance. Both a desktop and app-accessible tool, BV Compliance enables operators to get complete maintenance inspection verification information through a single user-friendly interface.

Whether an operator is looking for a high-level view or wants to zoom in on individual assets and systems, BV Compliance responds accordingly.  Its design offers clients ease of planning, ongoing verification and inspection, and historical data tracking, all with a much quicker turnaround than was previously possible.

“BV Compliance is a huge improvement,” Graeme says. “Having all the planning, work scopes, reports and findings in one database makes for huge efficiencies. With it, we can identify trends and themes from the findings and have one live version of visit work scopes. This has resulted in significant improvements in all areas, especially with planning. Bureau Veritas, our schedulers and offshore personnel have access to the latest, controlled version of verification work scopes.”

In the coming years, verification will continue to evolve, with an increased focus on digitalization. “I believe we will look for digital technology to allow more opportunities for remote, real-time verification,” Graeme says. “With easier access to data and manipulation of the same, we will look more to risk based, targeted verification.”

Photo credit ©Shell