Norwegian authorities and major oil and gas companies strengthen fire safety in the petroleum industry together with ComputIT

ComputIT has been awarded a 20 million NOK R&D contract from the Research Council of Norway, Statoil, Total, ENI, ConocoPhillips and Gassco for the development of the next generation advanced fire simulation technology for the oil and gas industry.

The new technology will be based on the internationally acknowledged, world-leading industrial fire simulation tool KAMELEON FIREEX KFX® and will contribute to enhanced understanding of fires, fire safety and prevention of major accidents in the petroleum industry.

A fire visualization of KAMELEON FIREEX KFX® simulation results

Uncontrolled fires are especially feared events in the oil and gas industry. Major or catastrophic fires typically occur as a result of escalation of one event into new events with escalating risk of damage. Even small fires can develop quickly and escalate into catastrophes where lives are lost, facilities are destroyed and environments are contaminated. In addition, exploration and production farther offshore, often in hostile environments, call for enhanced fire and explosion safety measures. Furthermore, life-time extensions of existing fields can alter fire risks, but also operational conditions for safety systems such as flares. These are all examples of challenges which are addressed by the fire modeling specialists at ComputIT.

The results from this 3-year R&D project will provide a detailed, reliable and enhanced basis for decisions regarding personnel safety, facility integrity, fire mitigation means, fire safety design and operational conditions of both existing and future oil and gas installations.

The state-of-the-art industrial CFD tool KAMELEON FIREEX KFX® is a result of R&D activities on turbulence and turbulent reacting flows carried out continuously at ComputIT, SINTEF and NTNU since 1969 under the scientific leadership of the awarded professor Bjørn F. Magnussen.  KFX™ is extensively validated, and for fires, at a level far beyond other software tools. For instance, KFX™ simulation results have been compared to a large number of full-scale field tests, where validation also have been performed as blind tests. This includes, but is not limited to, conventional jet and pool fires, complex multiphase spray fires with rainout, LNG fires, well-ventilated and under-ventilated fires in congested geometries, offshore ESD flare tests, water-based fire mitigation by deluge, monitors, mist and water curtains in complex systems.

For advanced consequence analyses of three-dimensional gas dispersion and fire development in realistic, complex geometries, KFX™ is recognized by major operators in the risk management industry and the petroleum industry as a preferred calculation tool, and it is used in daily operation and production all over the world.  Over the past 30 years KAMELEON FIREEX KFX® has contributed to both significantly increased fire safety and large cost savings in the petroleum industry both onshore and offshore.

A short description of the R&D project is also given in the booklet "Forebygging av storulykker, arbeidsbetinget sykdom og skader i petroleumsvirksomheten" (in Norwegian) published by the Research Council of Norway.

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