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    ABS launches FPSO Guide

    News // May 22, 2000
    As the oil and gas industry ventures into ultra deep waters, floating production systems are becoming an increasingly important field development option. Careful review of safety considerations and cost-efficient design, fabrication and operation of floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) installations are critically linked to the success of deepwater opportunities.

    Recognising this industry need, ABS has developed a suite of Guides that bring technical clarity to the efficient development and use of floating production systems worldwide, says Malcolm Sharples, ABS vice president of Offshore Project Development.

    "We've updated our Guide for Building and Classing Floating Production Installations, the Facilities Guide and the Guide for Building and Classing Undersea Pipeline Systems and Risers to assist the offshore industry in addressing risk-management issues associated with deepwater development," said Sharples.

    "We believe the ABS Guides will improve asset integrity while facilitating the efficient design and development of several FPSOs currently planned worldwide," Sharples added.

    The new Guides incorporate proven technology and the most up-to-date industry standards to assist the offshore industry in quantifying site-specific needs, while creating an avenue for evaluating new technology solutions.

    "We're taking our extensive experience with 40 per cent of the world's fleet of FPSOs to create an environment for innovation in a new century of offshore development," said Sharples.

    The Guides for Facilities and Floating Production Installations are also introducing 'risk-based alternatives' as an option to traditional prescriptive Rules, thus giving the industry improved access to risk-based design and increased flexibility for deepwater applications.

    Alternatives to the Rules may be supported using industry-accepted risk assessment techniques, says Todd Grove, director of Offshore Project Development.

    "Our risk analysis is tailored to the particular risks associated with a particular equipment design. We will address areas of concern on an item-by-item, system-by-system basis," said Grove. "In traditional, prescriptive Rule-based classification, ABS enters after the conceptual and design stages are completed, usually to review final designs. For complex projects, we often get involved at the beginning, volunteering our resources to get a project running, but it's not mandatory.

    "In a risk-based process, however, ABS will need to be involved from the conceptual phase to address the hazard operability (HAZOP) and hazard identification (HAZID) issues," said Grove.

    The Guide for Floating Production Installations - which ABS claims is the first such Guide to match hull design with field performance - will delineate the design criteria necessary for a site-specific vessel from the requirements for tankers classed forunrestricted service.

    The Guide also represents improved design criteria for vessels operating in environments where expected loads are more extreme than for trading tankers, thus enhancing vessel safety.

    "From a safety viewpoint, ABS and the industry are now better equipped to determine site-specific requirements for the vessel, which will provide more safety in harsh environment areas, while allowing designers to design with the local extreme weather criteria in mind", said Sharples. "This (will) translate into improved field economics for operators," said Sharples.

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