We use a combination of two processes:

  1. FMECA ( Failure Modes, Effects and Criticality Analysis ), a well established technique for improving reliability.

  2. Root Cause Analysis, a powerful tool to find out what went wrong and how to prevent it being repeated.


It can deliver tremendous value for upstream oil and gas projects, but needs a different approach from the traditional, 'text-book' ways used in other industries.  Proneta has been leading the way in developing the method specifically for oil and gas.

FMECA allows us to:

•         understand the potential failure modes

•         identify and rank the critical issues

–        through all phases of the life-cycle

–        identify mitigating measures

–        focus improvements

•         deliver implementable results to improve reliability.

Video-conferencing is a great tool that enables us to run the workshop session without needing to travel and meet face-to-face

The Proneta FMECA process

Proneta uses a systematic approach for FMECA. The steps in the process are:

  1. The life-cycle scenario is established, identifying the phases of construction and production.

  2. The baseline system is defined unambiguously for all the phases identified in the scenario, and documented in the form of functional requirements, a schematic diagram identifying all the constituent subsystems and major components and their interconnections, and a process flow for construction (ie installation procedure).

  3. Suitable rankings for Severity and Probability of Occurrence (and sometimes also Detection) are agreed.

  4. The potential failure modes of each subsystem in turn are identified.

  5. Each potential failure mode is systematically explored, using pre-prepared formats, to capture its characteristics in both narrative (with rich content) and ranking.  Those characteristics are:

    • Cause of failure, probability of occurrence, local and end effects, severity

    • Links to the supporting documentation (to provide a traceable audit trail).

  6. The FMECA results are analysed to highlight
    critical failure modes.

  7. For all critical failure modes, appropriate mitigating
    measures or preventive actions are identified and
    compiled into an engineering action list.

  8. An immediate preliminary report itemises and
    explains those critical failure modes and the actions
    required to address them.

  9. Subsequently, a comprehensive technical report covers all the work and the results, and includes all the data.

What constitutes good FMECA?

It needs to be  rigorous, systematic, and structured for the special requirements of oil and gas projects.


How do we get there?

  • Team effort, covering all the relevant disciplines in the team (no single person has the breadth of experience necessary).

  • Flexible response to allow those different disciplines to contribute.

  • Structure that reflects the system design and can be checked against that.

  • Structure that suits oil and gas projects ( including for example Life Cycle Phases & Functional Requirements ).

  • Accurate system design drawings and documentation ( we often find that they need to be overhauled before starting the FMECA ).

Why Root Cause Analysis?

It can deliver tremendous value for upstream Oil and Gas projects, but needs a different approach from the traditional, 'text-book' ways used in other industries.  Proneta has been leading the way in developing the method specifically for Oil and Gas.

You may have experienced the endless and tiresome debates, often circular and repetitive, aimed at working out what went wrong, who or what is to blame.

RCA cuts through all that.  This rigorous and systematic approach starts with gathering relevant evidence about the failure, then uses a workshop approach with a small core team of engineers to work through a Fault Tree.  That indicates where extra information would be valuable, which may be obtained by extra investigation or tests.

This method gives due attention to the whole range of possibilities, but homes in quickly to the most likely, and provides a clear traceable and record of how those conclusions were reached.  The results give clear indications of what needs to be done to avoid repetition of the failure.

RCA allows us to:

  • understand the failures as fully as possible; what and where are the failures, how did they occur;

  • determine what steps are needed to prevent the failures from recurring on subsequent installations;

  • determine what other tests may be useful to help understand the problem.


The Proneta FMECA process

This is based on the structure of a  Fault Tree.  The steps are: 

  1. Collect and review the evidence (written reports  / links to knowledgeable people);

  2. Define the symptoms of failure;

  3. Identify the potential failure modes – those that fit the symptoms of failure;

  4. Construct a Fault Tree from the potential failure modes;

  5. Review (in a structured workshop session) all those potential failure modes, one-by-one, against the evidence

  6. Look for analogues in other projects;

  7. Identify what further evidence is needed to confirm each Possible Cause (ie extra tests);

  8. Use that evidence to identify the Probable Cause of Failure;

  9. Propose further (characterisation) tests and other actions that will help avoid future failures.

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To speak to our team contact us on +44 (0) 7968 726 779 or email