After a lengthy process, new worldwide standards for the offshore industry developed under the aegis of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) are near completion.
The new standards are expected to replace progressively the API Recommended Practices, which have been the backbone of the offshore industry worldwide work since the late 60s. The publication of these new documents, their adoption by the international community and the establishment of a robust process for updates and enhancements will require careful coordination with the API processes as well as an appropriate alignment with the API strategy.
This paper gives a brief overview of the ISO-led effort and of the API contribution to it, and puts forward some thoughts for a future where all these activities and organizations may coexist in an organic and coordinated system.
Over the last 15 years, through an effort supported by large sectors of the international offshore oil & gas industry, new standards for offshore structures have been under development under the aegis of the International Standards Organization (ISO).
The development of these documents (often referred to as the ISO 19900 Series) has been supervised and coordinated by the Technical Committee ISO TC67/SC7. As of January 2006, the ISO TC67/SC7 roster includes 18 Participating Countries (including, among others, the US, UK, Norway, France, Canada, Italy, Indonesia, China) and 9 Observer Countries.
As of January 2006, six of the fourteen documents in the 19900 Series have been formally issued. The main documents (fixed steel structures, concrete structures and floating structures) are approaching final approval.
During the same time span, many factors (e.g. changes in the industry worldwide, the entrance of new players in the offshore arena, the consolidation still underway among key players) have fostered a new attitude towards the development and use of standards.