The Cost of Bolt Failure


  • “On December 18, 2012, while the Transocean Discoverer India was performing drilling operations at the Keathley Canyon lease block in the Gulf of Mexico, the rig’s lower marine riser package separated from the blowout preventer stack resulting in the release of approximately 432 barrels of synthetic-based drilling fluids into the Gulf of Mexico. Chevron, the designated operator, reported to BSEE that the incident was the result of the failure of GE H4 connector bolts on the LMRP.”

    So begins the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement’s QC FIT Report #2014-01, the QC-FIT Evaluation of Connector and Bolt Failures Summary of Findings. This bolting failure was only the most recent in a string of bolting incidents that occurred over a period of 15 years, and which cost the industry billions of dollars in damages and downtime. With this latest report, BSEE issued a call to the industry for new standards that could better manage and reduce the risk of further failures.

    In industrial environments such as offshore platforms, all operations are held together by fasteners. With such a critical task resting on the shoulders of these simple machines, it is imperative for the industry to take ownership of how they are made and maintained in order to adapt to, overcome, and prevent corrosion, as well as the dangerous conditions corrosion creates.

    API 20E was published as a response to these challenges. It provides a guide for vendors to adhere to industry specifications without cutting any corners in their process. Its third party auditing system requires testing and evaluation on a new scale to reduce the risk of bolt failure and help facilities save time, money, and lives. Vendors are constantly driven to maintain and improve production quality through a customer-oriented reporting system for non-compliance. Together, the resources and specifications that API 20E provides have led to a revolution in bolt theory and practice.

    The cost of bolt failure has no ceiling. The cost savings that come with bolt integrity cannot be overstated. In critical operations, demand bolting that complies with API 20E.