With recent technologies and exploration expanding the commercial viability of many deepwater fields, offshore operators now must contend with ways to keep their aging floating structures on station up to, and in many cases, beyond their original service life. As a result, there is a growing need within industry for a recommended practice focused solely on the Structural Integrity Management (SIM) of floating structures that provides guidance to operators and engineers in the development and implementation of SIM programs as well as to assess the fitness-for-purpose of a floating system over the original service life and beyond. Recognizing this need, DeepStar® initiated Project 12401 to develop a draft SIM Recommended Practice (RP) for floating offshore structures that covers hull, mooring, topsides structures and marine systems (e.g., ballast systems, propulsion, etc.). DeepStar® is a joint industry technology development project focused on advancing the technologies to meet its members’ deepwater business needs to deliver increased production and reserves. Members are comprised of various international oil and gas operators.
This paper describes the content and benefits of this new draft RP. The development process and required components of a floating structure SIM program are defined within the RP, which are currently not available in other industry RPs. Additionally, the overall implementation elements (i.e., Data, Evaluation, Strategy and Program) and associated processes required to manage a floating structure's integrity and confirm fitness-for-purpose over the service life (i.e., from commissioning to decommissioning) are covered. This includes assessment initiators (e.g., triggers for assessments) and a stepwise assessment process used to demonstrate the fitness of a floating structure. Guidance on assessing the fitness and viability of a floating structure for continued service beyond its original service life (sometimes referred to as "life extension") is also contained within the RP and described within this paper.