Italy’s RINA Services has responded to the challenges of life extension and new regulatory regimes by completely updating its Rules for the Classification of Fixed Offshore Platforms. The new rules and guidelines will be published in May 2015 and will cover classification, certification and verification of fixed offshore oil and gas platforms.
Andrea Bombardi, Head of the Energy Department, RINA Services, says, “The rules and guidance provide a comprehensive guide to classification, certification and verification. They are a cradle-to-grave framework for the structural and process safety of the entire platform. They build on RINA’s experience with offshore platforms in the Mediterranean, Red Sea, Indian and Atlantic oceans and the Caspian Sea. The new rules facilitate life extension, reduce downtime caused by inspection and maintenance and give owners more choices and control over their design, operation and maintenance strategies.”
Original design, fabrication, installation, structural assessment, topside process certification, life extension assessment and de-commissioning are all covered.Environmental protection is central to the new rules which have been developed with the aim of significantly reducing the risk of accidents and environmental damage.
Platform designers and operators can choose from and mix three approaches: classification, certification and verification.
Under each of the approaches RINA’s rules now allow for Load and Resistance Factor Design (LRFD), a probabilistic approach to structural assessment. International standards incorporated include API RP 2A and the ISO 19900 series.
The rules set out clear guidelines and requirements for assessing fatigue and corrosion issues to determine what must be done to allow platforms to continue to operate beyond their design life. The life extension approach incorporates Risk-Based Inspection (RBI) and risk-based maintenance planning. RBI can provide significant economic benefits for operators by better targeting of inspection and maintenance resources and reduced downtime.
RBI and monitoring and measurement in service are included in the requirements and guidance for topside process certification or verification.
Says Bombardi, “The new rules provide all parties with clear pathways and choices between all the most modern techniques and technology for the design, fabrication, installation, operation, life extension and de-commissioning of offshore fixed platforms.”
Adapted from press release by Joseph Green