What is FABIG ?

History

The Piper Alpha (1988) disaster triggered many changes to the offshore oil and gas industry's approach to dealing with explosion and fire hazards. Several large joint industry projects were undertaken to increase our understanding of hydrocarbon fires and explosions, and significant gaps in knowledge were identified.

FABIG was created in 1992 within this context of ongoing research and changes in the industry, with a view to continue the collation, appraisal and dissemination of knowledge on hydrocarbon fires and explosions, and to be the main forum for discussion of fire and blast related issues in relation to the design of both offshore and onshore facilities. Over the years, FABIG has broadened its scope beyond hydrocarbon fire and explosion hazards and now covers all industrial fire and explosion hazards.

On the 6th of July 1988, the Piper Alpha disaster claimed the lives of 167 people and totally destroyed the Piper Alpha platform. This accident, which remains the worst offshore accident to date, drew the attention of the offshore industry and the regulators to the damage that could arise in the event of an explosion and fire on an offshore platform, and triggered many changes that shaped the current offshore regulatory and operating environment worldwide.

A new regulatory regime was introduced in the UK following the public inquiry by Lord Cullen and the oil & gas industry responded to the challenges presented by the disaster through wide ranging initiatives, including several Joint Industry Projects (JIPs) involving full scale fires and/or explosions. These initiatives substantially advanced our knowledge and understanding of hydrocarbon fires and explosions, and the way we design offshore facilities to prevent them and mitigate their effects. The combination of the new regulatory environment and the pro-active response of the industry resulted in a real "step-change" in safety for offshore installations in the North Sea sector, which has influenced the offshore industry worldwide.

One of the first major research projects that followed the disaster was Phase 1 of the JIP on Blast and Fire Engineering for Topside Structures (BFETS). It resulted in the production of 26 reports summarising the industry's understanding of fire and explosion engineering at the time, and in publication of the Interim Guidance Notes (IGN) for the Design and Protection of Topsides Structures against Explosion and Fire. These guidelines were branded as “interim” due to the fast changing design concepts and the numerous and significant gaps in knowledge and understanding of loading and resistance to explosion and fire identified in the BFETS Phase 1.

The Fire and Blast Information Group (FABIG) was created in March 1992 within this context of ongoing research and change in the industry, with a view to continue the collation, appraisal and dissemination of knowledge on hydrocarbon fires and explosions for the design of offshore and onshore facilities. The key activities of FABIG as set out at its inception were to produce specialist design guidance on fire and explosion engineering so as to update the IGN and provide a forum for sharing technical knowledge through Technical Meetings and Newsletters. Over the years, FABIG has broadened the scope of its activities and now covers all industrial fire and explosion issues in relation to the design of all facilities subjected to such hazards.

Mission & Objectives

Our mission is to be the globally recognised centre of excellence for the sharing of technical knowledge and practical guidance on fire & explosion hazards.

To this end, FABIG maintains contact with key industry experts and researchers to keep abreast of current technical challenges and ongoing research. Relevant technical information is disseminated to the membership via the quarterly Technical Meetings and Newsletters, and Technical Notes are produced to provide practising engineers with detailed guidance on challenging fire and explosion related design issues.

FABIG is committed to promoting the protection of life, property and the environment through the development and sharing of expert knowledge on industrial fires and explosions for the design of all facilities subjected to such hazards (offshore installations, onshore petrochemical and chemical facilities, etc.).

To fulfil our mission, the objectives of FABIG are to:

  • Collate and assimilate fire and explosion related technical knowledge and research results from a wide range of sources.
  • Disseminate technical information to our members via Technical Meetings and Newsletters to keep them updated on the latest research, technology and best practice.
  • Develop specialist design guidance in the form of Technical Notes on challenging fire and explosion engineering topics.
  • Provide our members with a forum for sharing technical knowledge through the quarterly Technical Meetings and Newsletters.
  • Identify current technical challenges through liaising with key industry experts and researchers and through the network of members.

Scope of Activities

Whilst in the early days of FABIG, activities focused on hydrocarbon fire and explosion issues on offshore installations, the scope of our activities has broadened over the years to cover the design of all facilities subjected to industrial fire and/or explosion hazards including offshore installations, onshore petrochemical and chemical facilities, etc. Emerging topics such as hydrogen, design of floating production facilities, LNG, integrity management, life extension, carbon capture & storage and human factors have also been covered by FABIG in recent years.

Examples of technical topics covered by FABIG include:

  • Fire and explosion hazard management
  • Fire and explosion risk management
  • Fire loading and response
  • Explosion loading and response
  • Fire and explosion mitigation systems
  • Detailed fire and explosion design guidance

Governance

Our activities are overseen by a Steering Committee drawn from the FABIG member organisations. The Steering Committee meets at least twice a year to review income and expenditure, advise on ongoing research and technical issues faced by the industry and suggest topics for Technical Notes, Technical Meetings and Newsletters.

The FABIG Steering Committee:

  • The Steering Committee is made up of representatives of the different categories of membership to ensure that the interests of all stakeholders are adequately represented.
  • A minimum of 4 Steering Committee members is required at each Steering Committee meeting.
  • The Steering Committee meets at least twice a year and undertakes the following functions:
    1. Oversee the income, expenditure and management of FABIG funds in accordance with the aims of FABIG.

    2. Monitor progress of FABIG activities against time and cost.

    3. Advise the FABIG management team on key issues that are facing the industry to ensure that FABIG remains topical by addressing those issues within its remit and budgets.

    4. Advise the FABIG management team on subjects to be addressed by FABIG in future Technical Meetings, Newsletters and Technical Notes and on suitable contributors.

    5. Review FABIG Technical Notes.

    6. Oversee the content and development of the website.

    7. Notify the FABIG management team of research initiative that may be relevant to the FABIG membership.

    8. Advise the FABIG management team on proposals for joint initiatives with other organisations relevant to FABIG.

    9. Assist in the growth of the FABIG membership through providing leads and introductions.

Current Steering Committee Members:

  • Mike Bilio, Health & Safety Executive
  • Joar Dalheim, Lloyd's Register
  • Jim Salter / Fiona Aoun, Chevron
  • Jens Holen, Statoil
  • Pol Hoorelbeke, TOTAL
  • Asmund Huser, DNV GL
  • Mike Johnson, DNV GL
  • Michael Persaud, Shell
  • Chris Savvides, BP
  • Vincent Tam, University of Warwick

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