1. Athens Group Services Implements Verifications as an Engineering Discipline
Verifications are critical activities performed over an asset’s lifecycle which are intended to answer specific questions about the safety, conformance, and performance of a system. Verification activities are well established and well described in numerous regulatory regimes, industry standards and best practices across multiple industries.
Athens Group Sertices’ track record in systems verification has taught us that determining the answers to those questions is an engineering activity — not a checklist execution or the random opinion of a surveyor.
Verification test plans and inspection checklists must be engineered to provide the coverage necessary to match your risk tolerance for your specific system and operational plan.
2. The Specific Engineering Discipline is Integrated Systems Test Engineering
The safe, efficient and effective performance of the Integrated System is at the center of the success or failure of your drilling campaign. The Integrated System is defined as the electro/mechanical and the controls taken together as a single functional machine, with controls at the heart of the integrated system. While verifying the electro/mechanical components can inform you about what the system could do, it is the verification of the controls that informs you what the system will do.
It is what the system will do that determines the success or failure of your plan. In the clear majority of cases, when integrated systems cause harm it is because of an unexpected behavior or defect in a control system instructing the electro/mechanical hardware to perform an unsafe action.
The expertise to understand and determine if an integrated system will successfully execute your drilling plan rests with verifiers that are well grounded in controls experience.
While most hardware can be verified visually, software control systems cannot. Verifying controls requires radically different expertise. Verifying the safety, conformance and performance of integrated controls-based systems requires integrated systems test engineering experience grounded in software controls — not hardware.
Athens Group Services’ principal technical staff has been designing, building and verifying integrated digital controls-based systems longer than many of these types systems have been in use in Oil and Gas. We begin from the controls perspective (the more complex elements) and add the hardware dimension (the traditional elements). You can’t do it the other way around – the controls are too complex and require a mindset and skillset that can’t be easily acquired by an electro/mechanical inspector. Athens Group Services verification plans are engineered to help ensure verification coverage is matched to your risk tolerance.
3. We have invested our decades of experience in the processes and methodologies necessary to deliver properly engineered verification and inspection solutions on a consistent basis
One common problem with the verification and operation of complex integrated systems was characterized by NASA as “the normalization of deviance”. This occurs whenever the verification or operational procedures rely on the assumption that “it worked in the past, therefore it will work in the future” — rather than looking at each situation and designing verification and operational procedures that are based on the most recent engineering experience and system-specific parameters.
The re-use of static verification test plans and checklist templates from a library is the very definition of normalization of deviance. Athens Group Services makes considerable and ongoing investments in “engineering out” the normalization of deviance from the verification process. Our test plans incorporate the latest verification and test engineering best practices to ensure your specific regulatory requirements and operational risk tolerances are satisfied.
In summary, Athens Group Services verification delivers:
- Competitively priced solution provided in a timely fashion
- A qualified and experienced resource that works well with your team
- A verification plan engineered to eliminate the normalization of deviance and ensure your regulatory and risk tolerance requirements are satisfied
- Useful and actionable results that include recommendations for resolutions. Problems identified and resolved
- Clear and useful daily reports and issues management
- Clear and useful final report