Following the issue of a Notice to Lessees (NTL) in September 2003 on the subject of Platform Assessment, MMS hosted a two-day workshop in September 2003. In response to recommendations from the Workshop, API set up a Task Group that put forward a two-phase strategy to meet the future needs of industry for a robust structural assessment methodology to determine the fitness-for-purpose of offshore platforms.
The first phase, funded by API, was to update the existing Section 17. The updates were intended to clarify specific sections to assist the industry to respond in a more consistent manner in accordance with the platform assessment timetable put forward in the NTL. This paper describes the updates that were made in phase 1.
The second phase, funded as a Joint Industry Project, has the objective of developing a new Recommended Practice (RP) for the Structural Integrity Management (SIM) of Fixed Offshore Platforms. This document is planned to include the current Section 17 updates and other sections from RP2A relating to SIM of existing structures. The new document will include, for the first time in API, a section on decommissioning. The JIP is scheduled to complete in summer 2005. This paper describes the SIM approach and the proposed contents of the new API SIM RP.
API Task Group 92-5 developed Section 17 of API RP2A "Assessment of Existing Platforms" over 10 years ago. The intent was to provide a consistent and tested process for assessing existing platforms to ensure their fitness-for-purpose. This was a significant API effort that involved many industry personnel from operators, engineering companies, and consultants alike. Section 17 first appeared as a supplement to the 20th Edition of API RP2A, and was subsequently fully incorporated into API RP2A 21st Edition.
Since that time, industry has implemented the Section 17 assessment process for numerous platforms in U.S. waters and (with the exception of any reduced metocean or acceptance criteria) other regions around the world. The related SIM sections in the draft ISO requirements for Steel Offshore Structures were written using Section 17 as a basis.
Recent industry focus on deepwater development in the Gulf of Mexico imposes increasing demands on the existing pipeline and platform infrastructure. Existing platforms serve as key hubs to transport deepwater reserves to onshore markets. In recognition of the need to demonstrate the fitness-for-purpose of these structures, MMS hosted a Workshop in September 2003 on the 'Assessment of Existing Offshore Structures'. Much of the discussion at the Workshop concerned the implications associated with the MMS Notice to Lessees, NTL No. 2003-G16, effective August 15, 2003.
The NTL sets out the timetable for operators to conduct platform assessments in accordance with the provisions of API RP2A 21st Edition. The Workshop acknowledged that Section 17 provides an important and robust process to determine the fitness-for-purpose of existing platforms but identified several important areas where greater clarity would be beneficial. In addition, MMS identified certain areas where they wished to see clarifications and updates.