Research facilitation and management for Newfoundland and Labrador's offshore industry

Development of a Knowledge-Based Expert System to Conduct HAZOP Study

Lead PI: Dr. Faisal I. Khan
Subject Category: Health, Safety and the Environment

Start Date: Sept 2004
End Date: Dec 2007
Institution / Organization: Memorial University

Several large industrial accidents have occurred in the last decade, causing significant financial and human loss. Facility and personnel safety, and risk assessment are paramount in today’s offshore oil and gas industry.  Process hazard analysis is an important step to identify risk in an oil and gas processing facility.

HAZOP is a formalized methodology to identify and to document hazards through imaginative thinking; it involves a very systematic examination of design documents that describe the installation or the facility under investigation. The aim is to thoroughly document the hazard causes and consequences of the operation deviations and formulate recommended actions.  The results of such an analysis can then be compared to the risks associated with other industries and activities in order to determine if the risk is acceptable.

The objective of this project was to develop an automated HAZOP tool, which relaxes the constraints of the traditional HAZOP method, and also acts as an aid for conducting real-life HAZOP studies. Fault propagation, an aspect of HAZOP analysis, defines the propagation of deviations among equipment in a process facility. This is often missing in traditional HAZOP tools. However, to identify all the possible hazards more rapidly, an efficient fault propagation algorithm with a knowledge-base is required. 

Dr. Faisal Khan of Memorial University has succeeded in developing a knowledge-based expert system, ExpHAZOP+, comprised of a graphical user interface (GUI), a knowledge-base and an inference engine that will lead to better accident prevention and safety management of oil and gas operations.


  • Final Report [PDF]
  • Rahman, S., Khan, F., Veitch, B. and Amyotte, P (2007) ExpHAZOP+: Knowledge-based expert system to conduct automated HAZOP analysis.  Pre-press article submitted to Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries [PDF]

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