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What is a QRA?

A QRA is a quantitative risk assessment, or a quantitative risk analysis. It is a formal and systematic method using measurable, objective data to determine an asset’s value, the probability of loss and other associated risks.

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QRA: Supporting the decision making process

Quantitative risk assessments are extensively used in petrochemical and process industries to evaluate the safety of activities, processes and systems. QRAs are generally required for production and processing facilities, pipelines and storage facilities. 

By running a QRA, it is possible to gain input for concept selections, design decisions, operational restrictions and preventive or mitigative safety and quality barriers, thereby optimizing the solutions. A QRA will highlight the accident scenarios that contribute most to overall risk, including consequences, in addition to initiating and controlling factors. The consequences studied can involve economic impact, environmental impact and loss of life. The resulting assessment is used to demonstrate that an asset meets acceptability criteria and that potential risks are as low as reasonably practicable (ALARP). 

All possible future scenarios in an asset’s lifetime should be covered, but some assumptions must be made when the scope, models and risk measures are determined. QRAs typically report risk in weighted averages based on time and uncertainty, defining a static baseline risk.

QRA during operations

Quantitative risk assessments can be used to map risks and to ensure safe and efficient operations as initial safety barriers degrade over time, modifications to an asset are made and the risk picture changes. The assumptions made as part of the original risk assessment may no longer be valid. Production conditions may change, activity level may fluctuate and other activities not accounted for in the design QRA will alter the risk level compared to the original risk baseline. 

New technologies are being developed to ensure that QRAs are increasingly brought into decision processes. Dynamic risk assessment implemented in real time, relying on digitalization and integration of systems and automated sensor data, provides an updated risk picture that is adaptive to changing conditions. This involves more than new calculations of risk measures based on new input. Deviations from the assumptions made in previous QRAs must also be understood. In addition, a dynamic presentation of risk results is necessary to make the results accessible to decision-makers in real time. 

QRA offerings from DNV GL

DNV GL offers a full range of services relating to QRAs that covers both consultancy/advisory and digital/software services in all phases of the asset's lifecycle.

Our consultancy services include:

  • Conducting QRAs
  • Reviewing QRAs done by third parties
  • Writing QRA methodology documents (for organizations and regulators)
  • QRA training

Our digital and software solutions include:

  • Safeti QRA software - we develop and sell the world-leading and industry standard software application for QRA
  • Phast process hazard analysis software - we develop and sell the world's most comprehensive hazard analysis system for all stages of design and operation in the process industries
  • MyQRA - we pioneer QRA delivery with our powerful digital QRA application leveraging QRA results in a 3-D format with filtering, drill-down and sensitivities functionalities to provide insights not possible in a static report
  • We help to digitalize QRA processes, e.g. by integrating QRA analytics/software into enterprise systems
  • Software training - for QRA simulation software