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01 February 2021

Prof John Strutt retires as Technical Director

Following 10 years in the role, John's retirement leaves a lasting legacy shaping Astrimar's future

John has served as Technical Director since co-founding Astrimar in 2010.  During this time, John has led Astrimar’s technical innovations, as well as sector-wide transformation in subsea reliability.

John’s career started as a materials scientist at the University of Sussex before moving to Cranfield University where he undertook teaching and research across a number of industries, with an increasing focus on oil and gas and in particular the subsea sector. John’s interest in reliability and risk management grew from his work in understanding materials-related failures, becoming internationally recognised as an expert in the field of reliability engineering.

In 1999 John was awarded an industry-sponsored Chair in Reliability Engineering and Risk Management at Cranfield University, where he led research and taught MSc programs in Subsea Engineering and Safety, Risk and Reliability, teaching many who are now today’s key names in the Subsea Industry.

In 1999, John was approached by a major subsea operator looking at how to improve the reliability of subsea equipment, after experiencing painful early life failures in the new “deep water” fields.  This started a 20-year journey in Subsea Reliability, which has transformed the way the industry addresses reliability and resulted in a step-change in the reliability achieved, enabling subsea to remain competitive against other production solutions.

After more than 30 years in academic research and teaching, John retired from University life and joined Boreas Consultants (subsequently Atkins Boreas) in 2005 to lead their Risk and Reliability team before leaving to set up Astrimar in 2010.

John’s early subsea reliability work led to him becoming the Champion and lead author of a new API Recommended Practice (API RP17N) on subsea reliability and technical risk management, which was first published in 2009 and became the common industry-wide language for subsea reliability.  John was also responsible for updating and extending the guidance following the Deepwater Horizon accident, re-issued in 2017.  In 2014, John received a citation from the API Committee on Standardization of Oilfield Equipment and Materials, for his “distinguished and meritorious service and many contributions to programs of the Institute”.

In parallel to this, John was also asked to review work undertaken by the Subsea processing community, using the NASA concept of TRLs as part of technology qualification.  He developed these approaches further and after supporting operators and developers in their application, and providing training through SUT, he championed the creation of the new API recommended practice on Technology Qualification, API RP 17Q, published in 2018.  The use of TRLs has now, as a result, become the common language of new technology qualification in the subsea industry.

In 2010, after the Deepwater Horizon accident, John was requested to join a new BOP reliability task force in Houston to drive a change in culture in the subsea drilling sector to achieve and demonstrate greatly improved BOP reliability, in response to the requirements set out by newly formed BSEE, to enable drilling to re-start in the GoM.  After serving on the team for around 3 years, he was also asked to support a technology qualification programme for a next generation of (20k) subsea BOP.

John has worked with many different operators, engineering contractors and equipment suppliers around the world, driving reliability engineering best practice across the subsea industry, enabling it to deliver step changes in reliability achievement. He has been responsible for developing industry and in-company best practices, training and coaching engineers and champions, such that reliability engineering is now a routine part of design and operations across the industry.  He has also contributed to a wider range of related industry guidance, including Energy Institute guidance documents on Integrity Management and Obsolescence Management

More recently, as Technical Director of Astrimar, John has continued to be a visionary and lead innovation in applying advanced reliability engineering techniques to address current industry challenges. This includes developing state-of-the-art techniques to support data-driven predictive risk-based integrity management, utilising all inspection, monitoring and test data related to equipment condition. Encompassed in Astrimar’s industry-driven, innovative software pRIOriti-AIM, it is used by operators for both Integrity Management and Life Extension assessment. In addition, John has developed the science behind Astrimar’s InnovateUK funded STEM-flow tool to model the reliability of well P&A sealing systems, to support the qualification of new P&A barrier materials, as well as enabling data-driven risk-based P&A design, for optimisation in subsea decommissioning. 

Throughout his distinguished career, John’s passion has been to understand and prevent failures, by incorporating reliability into everyday business. John continues to support Astrimar in an advisory capacity. His passion for reliability and innovation leaves a lasting legacy shaping Astrimar’s future and its role in the wider industry.