The research and development activities following the Piper Alpha disaster have resulted in significantly improved technical safety of oil & gas facilities offshore and onshore. This improved technical safety resulted from the development of goal-setting, risk-based approach, the objective of which was to open the routes for design optimization and remove previous constraints that addressed the worst case and was prescriptive. Despite this initiative, a Quantitative Risk Assessment (QRA), while still being carried out, often remains “disconnected” from the practical design and prescriptive methods still take precedence. Resorting solely to a prescriptive approach can result in adequate protection missing in places where it should be, and applied in areas where there is a low likelihood of the hazard. This Paper addresses the application in the facility design, risk based methods and known behavior of structures and equipment in accidents. It stresses the importance of practical experience in the application of fire and explosion protection, and adequate design and operational experience. The Paper focuses on fire and explosion hazards and is based on more than 30 years of the authors’ experience in supporting facility design and assessment. Such approach has resulted in solutions with improved technical safety and significant cost-savings. It addresses both new installations and modifications of existing facilities.

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