The ISO 19900 series of standards addresses the design, construction, installation, integrity and assessment of offshore structures. In the early 1990's industry stakeholders drafted a long term plan to develop and maintain an international set of standards to supercede a growing number of local and regional standards. Existing standards generating bodies and government agencies including API, DnV, BSI, NPD, HSE and others combined with industry leaders to embark on developing a comprehensive set of offshore structure standards that would provide uniformity in methods and procedures across the world. Coupled with the core standards, individual countries/organizations could utilize the ISO standard supplemented by local regulatory and/or design conditions to assure appropriateness of facilities.

This paper will outline the strategy developed for the standards process, subsequent development of the standards and plans for the long term maintenance of the standards suite. Adoption of the standards by various regions as well as key advancements included in the standards will be covered.

The ISO Offshore Structures suite of standards consists of more than a dozen documents. Organized in two categories, first, guidance and requirements for technical disciplines common to more than one functional concept and secondly, guidance and requirements for the various concepts. With more than half the standards now published and nearly 80% to be published by 2009, baseline practices for many offshore structural facilities will utilize these standards in the near future. These standards have been under development by the international community including many from the API standards groups.

Coupled with the issuance of the ISO standards, many regions of the world will be adopting the ISO standards as a basis for facilities. In the US, API will be restructuring many of the API Series 2 documents incorporating the ISO standards and adding US specific conditions for future versions of well known API standards.

An international set of standards developed and accepted by the international community for use in offshore structures, adjusted locally for unique local conditions, has emerged.

This paper is one of a series of seven papers in a series outlining the scope, development, usage and future strategy of the ISO and API offshore structures standards.

1.0 Background to the development of the ISO Offshore Structures Standard

The oil industry started more than 100 years ago but did not venture offshore until 1947 with shallow water platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. It took quite some time before industry standards for offshore structures were developed with the first one being API RP 2A in the late 1960s. The USA was the focus of standards development for most of the 1970s almost exclusively through API. Many of the geographic regions outside the US that were also developing an offshore industry in the 1960s and 1970s were in regions with comparatively benign environments and limited industrial infrastructure. Early editions of API RP2A were almost universally used for design.

In the 1970s and 80s extensive development in the harsh environment off NW Europe led to the acceleration of research into environmental loading, fatigue and materials which were captured in new offshore structures standards in the UK and Norway prepared by regulators, standards bodies and classification societies. These incorporated more advanced provisions for the harsh environment aspects of design.

You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.