Click for next page (


The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement



Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page R1
VERIFICATION OF FIXED OFFSHORE OIL AND GAS PLATFORMS: An Analysis of Need, Scope, and Alternative Verification Systems A report prepared by the Panel on Certification of Offshore Structures of the-Marine Board, -Assembly of Engineering, National Research _ ' . -i in Council NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES Washington, B.C., 1977 NAS-NAE APR 1 $ 1377 LIBRARY

OCR for page R1
NOTICE The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the Councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the Panel responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences-and with regard for appropriate balance. This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by the Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. This report represents work supported by Contract Number N00014-76-C-0309 between the Office of Naval Research and the National Academy of Sciences. Limited copies available from Marine Board Assembly of Engineering National Research Council 2101 Constitution Avenue, NW Washington, D.C. 20418 Printed in the United States of America Order from National Technical Information Service, Springfield. Va.

OCR for page R1
SUMMARY America's demand for energy is now growing at 2.5 per- cent a year, according to the Federal Energy Administration, and its dependence on foreign oil is increasing rapidly — from 26 percent before the 1973 oil embargo to 46 percent in February 1977. One important source of new oil and gas re- serves lies off the coasts of the U.S. This offshore region, only about 2 percent of which has been opened for produc- tion, provided 16.4 percent of the nation's oil and 14 percent of its natural gas in 1975, and according to the predictions of the American Petroleum Institute, by 1985 the yield could double. In the near future, exploration and production will be extended from the principal sites of present offshore oil and gas reserves in the Gulf of Mexico and offshore Southern California to the Gulf of Alaska and the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans, where storm, seismic, and geological conditions are different. The projected increase in such oil and gas recovery from the U.S. outer continental shelf (OCS) has intensified public and government concerns about conserving vital resources, protecting the environment, and safeguard- ing human life. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) regulates OCS tech- nology and other activities principally by issuing OCS orders and other lease stipulations. Since 1971, several studies conducted by the USGS, the Marine Board of the National Academy of Engineering, the General Accounting Office, the President's Council on Environmental Quality, and the Congress" Office of Technology Assessment have con- cluded with recommendations for regulating and inspecting the lessees engaged in offshore oil and gas production. Accordingly, the USGS requested the National Research Council to undertake a review of the practices in the veri- fication of the structural adequacy of fixed offshore oil and gas platforms — that is, the production facilities permanently fixed to the seabed by pilings, spread footings, and other means. The USGS also requested a review of the need for establishing a third-party verification procedure and, if this was deemed necessary, how such a procedure might operate. To perform this study, the National Research Council assigned the Marine Board (which had been transferred from the National Academy of Engineering in 1974 to conduct such projects), which in turn, appointed a special panel that initiated this study in January 1976. The record for oil and gas platforms operating off U.S. coasts in the past three decades is exceptionally good. Of 3,000 structures erected between 1947 and 1975 in the Gulf iii

OCR for page R1
of Mexico, storms accounted for the destruction of only 26 and partially damaged another 11. While oil spills have resulted from storms or from such other causes as collisions, fires, blowouts, or storage tank ruptures, no significant spills have been attributed by the USGS and the U.S. Coast Guard to failures of the platform structures. The most publicized spill involving a platform in U.S. waters, the incident in the Santa Barbara Channel off Southern California in 1969, was due to the nature of the subbottom geology and to leakage around the well casing rather than any structural deficiency of the platform. Since then, as the Council on Environmental Quality has observed in its 1974 report, OCS Oil and Gas, "the offshore oil and gas industry has made substantial progress in technology and work prac- tices." The record of offshore platform operations in the past three decades also shows that no lives were lost from structural failures. In its earliest deliberations the panel concluded that no verification procedure could guarantee that a fixed off- shore oil and gas production platform will be safe or secure at all times for operating personnel, that it will withstand the effects of all storms, collisions, or other accidents of nature or man, and that it will preserve the environment. Even so, verification provides a practical way of giving additional and more credible assurance to the public and the governments (at state and national levels) that all reasonable precautions have been taken, based on the best applicable technical and environmental knowledge available, to ensure the integrity of the structure, so that oil and gas platforms on the OCS offer safety to the personnel, protection of the environment, and conservation of the resources. The present verification procedure calls for the off- shore oil and gas industry, under the general supervision of the USGS, to oversee and regulate the structural integrity and operational safety of all drilling operations at sea as well as of the production equipment associated with the platforms. The industry does this by requiring that the structures are designed to withstand the operational loads and environmental forces likely to occur. The design of the structure is certified by a registered professional engineer. The panel reviewed the verification systems now in use for offshore structures in waters around the U.S. and abroad (as well as other types of structural certification) in order to determine the advantages and disadvantages of each. Based on its examination of such systems, the panel concluded iv

OCR for page R1
that a verification system should include the following principal elements: 0 Establishment of environmental conditions for each area and class of structure; 0 Documentation and promulgation of the recom- mended practices for design and construction; 0 Submission and approval of the verification plans; 0 Conducting the verification procedure throughout the design, fabrication and installation; 0 Allowance for appeals of the system; 0 Provision for reporting and investigation of accidents; and, 0 Maintenance of an audit of the system. In addition, the system must be sufficiently flexible to provide for variations in environmental design conditions and to allow for the introduction of new technology. Further, it should be so structured as to minimize any delays that might occur in the process of platform design approval, construction, and installation. The panel weighed the benefits and possible adverse effects of a third-party verification system. The principal benefit of such a system is to enhance the orderly extension of OCS oil and gas activities in an expeditious and effi- cient way by assuring the public and the Congress of the integrity of the fixed offshore platforms. Potential ad- verse effects include excessive delays and interruptions to the step-by-step process of design and construction, exces- sive rigidity, and over-reliance on codes or standards that may prevent the introduction of advanced technology. On balance, the panel concluded that the benefits, advancing the capability to proceed in an orderly manner, outweigh the adverse consequences of third-party verification. Therefore, the panel recommends that a third-party veri- fication system should be implemented by the USGS for future production platforms in all U.S. waters. In making this recommendation, the panel recognized that the establishment of a verification procedure requires a major commitment on the part of the USGS and the government, particularly in

OCR for page R1
recruiting and training an adequate and technically compe- tent in-house staff to administer the system. When the system is fully developed, the verification of design, fabrication, installation, and maintenance can best be performed by independent third-party agents, selected on the basis of technical competence and experience in off- shore engineering. Such third-party agents should not have corporate affiliation with the owner or operator of the platform; nor should they be allowed to verify any function or structure for a specific platform with which they, their company, or any corporate affiliate are connected. The panel recommends a transition period during which the verification procedure is implemented. The purpose of the transition period is to avoid a disruption of the pre- sent development of the OCS and to utilize existing tech- nical expertise fully. Unreasonable delays can be costly and increase the nation's dependency on foreign oil and gas. Only when the USGS is staffed adequately and criteria and environmental data for specific regions have been established should the verification procedures used in the transition period be expanded to the full third-party verification system that the panel proposes. The panel recommends that the USGS establish a board of consultants to develop and review environmental design conditions, practices for design and construction, verifi- cation procedures, and qualifications for third-party reviewers. The membership of such a board would be suffi- ciently broad to ensure that critical decisions are not based on narrow considerations. The panel also recommends the use of outside contrac- tors to support the system while, at the same time, to limit the need for an overly large USGS staff. Notwith- standing, the management and administration of the entire verification procedure is a function of the USGS and cannot be delegated. In addition, the panel offers related recommendations: 0 The USGS should prepare policy guidelines defining the elements of the verification procedure and how it is to be implemented; 0 The USGS should provide guidelines for the submission of acceptable verification plans by the owner or operator on individual projects; vi

OCR for page R1
0 The USGS should take positive steps to ensure that research programs necessary to resolve technical uncertainties arising from verification are initiated; 0 The USGS should establish procedures for the routine reporting of platform structural conditions and analysis; 0 An independent, impartial board should be utilized to review accident investi- gations; 0 The USGS should encourage its personnel to maintain their technical competence by participating in professional society activities and continuing education pro- grams; 0 The federal government should provide adequate funding for the adoption and administration of the proposed verifi- cation system; and, 0 A periodic review of the established verification system should be instituted. In the course of its study, the panel was aware that the USGS, under its present statutory basis, has responsi- bility for the prevention of waste and conservation of natural resources. The legal authority of USGS responsibi- lity for the safety of structures and protection of the environment is not clear. Therefore, the statutory basis for the operation of the verification program, under the USGS, needs clarification. Although costs were not a major consideration, the panel's best estimate of costs is approximately 1 percent of cost of the total platform for meeting the expense of USGS personnel to administer and monitor the system and 2 percent of the cost of the platform to meet the outlay of industry for documentation, reviews, and inspection. The cost of each major platform in new U.S. waters varies in a range from $30 million to $150 million. Vll

OCR for page R1
PANEL ON CERTIFICATION OF OFFSHORE STRUCTURES Ben C. Gerwick, Jr., Chairman Professor of Civil Engineering University of California, Berkeley Berkeley, California H. Ray Brannon Research Scientist Exxon Production Research Company Houston, Texas John A. Focht Executive Vice President McClelland Engineers, Inc. Houston, Texas Joseph M. Krafft Head, Mechanics of Materials Branch Ocean Technology Division Naval Research Laboratory Washington, D.C. Griff C. Lee Group Vice President J. Ray McDermott and Company, Inc. New Orleans, Louisiana Hudson Matlock Professor of Civil Engineering University of Texas, Austin Austin, Texas Leonard C. Meeker Center for Law and Social Policy Washington, D.C. George C. Nickum President Nickum and Spaulding Associates, Inc. Seattle, Washington Vlll

OCR for page R1
J. Daniel Nyhart Associate Professor of Management Sloan School of Management Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge, Massachusetts W. F. Searle, Jr. President Searle Consultants, Inc. Alexandria, Virginia Lyle S. St. Amant Assistant Director Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission New Orleans, Louisiana Staff Denzil C. Pauli Assistant Executive Director Marine Board National Research Council Washington, D.C. Paul E. Purser Consultant Houston, Texas ix

OCR for page R1
MARINE BOARD * George F. Mechlin, Chairman Vice President, Research General Manager, Research Laboratories Westinghouse Electric Corporation Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania * Ben C. Gerwick, Jr., Vise Chairman Professor of Civil Engineering University of California, Berkeley Berkeley, California Dayton Lee Alverson Director, Northwest Fisheries Center National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Seattle, Washington *John P. Craven Dean of Marine Programs University of Hawaii Honolulu, Hawaii L. Eugene Cronin Associate Director for Research Center for Environmental and Estuarine Studies Cambridge, Maryland Gifford C. Ewing Scientist Department of Physical Oceanography Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Woods Hole, Massachusetts John E. Flipse President Deepsea Ventures, Inc. Gloucester Point, Virginia *Member, National Academy of Engineering

OCR for page R1
William S. Gaither Dean and Professor College of Marine Studies University of Delaware Newark, Delaware Ronald L. Geer Consulting Mechnical Engineer Shell Oil Company Houston, Texas * Earnest F. Gloyna Dean College of Engineering University of Texas, Austin Austin, Texas *Claude R. Hocott Professor of Petroleum Engineering & Director of Texas Petroleum Research Committee University of Texas, Austin Austin, Texas James L. Johnston Senior Economist Standard Oil Company (Indiana) Chicago, Illinois Dor. E. Kash Director Science and Public Policy Program University of Oklahoma Norman, Oklahoma *Alfred A.H. Keil Dean of Engineering Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge, Massachusetts Christian J. Lambertsen Director Institute for Environmental Medicine University of Pennsylvania Medical Center Philadelphia, Pennsylvania *Member, National Academy of Engineering xi

OCR for page R1
*Herman E. Sheets Chairman and Professor Department of Ocean Engineering University of Rhode Island Kingston, Rhode Island James H. Wakelin Chairman Exploitation Advisory Board Naval Security Group Headquarters Washington, D.C. *Robert L. Wiegel Professor University of California, Berkeley Berkeley, California *Elmer P. Wheaton Vice President & General Manager (Ret.) Lockheed Missiles and Space Company Portola Valley, California Staff Jack W. Boiler Executive Director Marine Board National Research Council Washington, D.C. Denzil C. Pauli Assistant Executive Director Marine Board National Research Council Washington, D.C. *Member, National Academy of Engineering xii

OCR for page R1
CONTENTS INTRODUCTION BACKGROUND Certification vs. Verification 8 Scope of Panel Study 9 Need for Verification 10 Primary Implementation Considerations 11 Knowledge of Offshore Technology H Status of Technical Documentation n Personnel 13 Verification Functions 13 REVIEW AND ANALYSIS OF EXISTING SYSTEMS AND AGENTS 15 Present USGS System for Offshore Platforms 16 Present Industry System of Design and Construction Review 17 British System for Certification of Offshore Platforms 17 Norwegian System for Certification of Offshore Platforms 18 USCG System for Certifying Ships and Mobile Offshore Rigs 19 FAA System 20 Proposed Aerospace Options 20 A RECOMMENDED VERIFICATION SYSTEM 24 System Steps 24 Contents of Verification Plan 25 Applicable Verification Standards, Codes, Practices 26 Repeated Designs 27 Flexibility to Accommodate Advanced Designs 27 Inspection 27 Ongoing Configuration Control and Inspection Plans 28 Third-Party Verification Agents 28 Failure Reporting 28 Accident Investigation and Review 28 System Management, Approval, Appeal and Audit 29 Analysis of Proposed System 29 Management Options 31 xiii

OCR for page R1
REQUIREMENTS FOR ESTABLISHMENT OF PROGRAM 35 Transition Period 35 Board of Consultants 36 Program Policy Document 36 Requirements Regulation 38 Recommended Practices, Design Standards, Codes, etc. 38 Environmental Design Conditions 39 Qualification Standards for Third-Party Verification Agents 39 Internal USGS Procedures 40 The USGS Personnel 40 Acquisition and Training of the USGS Personnel 41 Other Personnel Considerations for the USGS 42 Intergovernmental Agency Cooperation 42 Research and Development Implications 42 LEGAL CONSIDERATIONS 44 COST CONSIDERATIONS 46 CONCLUSIONS 47 RECOMMENDATIONS 51 NOTES 56 APPENDICES 58 xiv

OCR for page R1
TABLES Table I Structure Verification System Outline and Notes 30 Table II Matrix of Options for Performance of Verification Functions 32 Table III Requirements for Establishment of Verification Program 37 xv