Wednesday, May 8, 2013

As Offshore Energy Production Techniques Develop So Too Do the Regulations Which Cover Them

Lloyd's Register Rules Maintain Standards at Sea
Shipping News Feature

SINGAPORE – UK – WORLDWIDE – The raison d’être of Lloyd’s Register is the provision of independent assurance to companies operating high-risk, capital-intensive assets in the energy and transportation sectors and demonstrate best industry practice via its rules and last week saw the group’s Global Technology Centre in Singapore hold an inaugural Offshore Technical Committee to discuss offshore operating rules and regulations with representatives from national and international oil companies, energy, procurement and construction (EPC) contractors, owners, operators, fabricators, shipbuilders, equipment vendors and representatives from a number of academic and research organisations.

The members took part in a series of networking opportunities and technical workshops but also crucially approved two Lloyd’s Register Rule-sets; The Floating Offshore Installations at a Fixed Location 2013 Rules and the Mobile Offshore Unit 2013 Rules. Both of which will be issued at the end of this month (May 2013). Chris Walters, Senior Vice President for Lloyd’s Register’s Compliance Services said:

“The Committee ensures that our Rules reflect industry best practice and I’m delighted that so many key figures have given their time to make that happen. Rules are continuously amended to improve usability, reflect industry best practice, new novel designs and legislative changes. We decided early on that we did not want the Committee to be tied to a single city or even country but reflect the fact that this is a global business and Lloyd’s Register is a global company.”

Modern class societies have to offer technical solutions that recognise an industry's legacy, while driving the research and development that will help to ensure that same industry builds the safe infrastructure it needs to meet future energy challenges. With the latest developments Lloyd’s says that the Register Rules set appropriate standards for design, construction and lifetime maintenance in the oil and gas, and maritime sectors, providing all the information needed for classification purposes. Floating offshore assets are covered by two Rule-sets:

• FOIFL (Floating Offshore Installations at a Fixed Location) Rules which cover floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) and floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) assets which remain on station

• MOU (Mobile Offshore Units) Rules: those units that carry out international voyages in compliance with International Association of Classification Society (IACS) regulations such as drill ships, self-elevating rigs, accommodation barges and Wind Turbine Installation Vessels.

The Rules never stand still and are continuously amended to improve usability, reflect industry best practice, new novel designs and legislative changes. This year the MOU Rules were completely overhauled and new drilling notations added, including DRILL, DROPS and ISIS whilst the FOIFL Rules were improved with key changes relating to new requirements and guidance for FLNG assets; a new Part 11 added for “Product, Storage and Offloading of Liquefied Gases in Bulk” and “Guidelines for the calculation of probabilistic explosion loads”.

Seventeen different nationalities attended the event in Singapore. At the heart of the Committee is a shared vision to create and share best-practice and knowledge, and to discuss implications of upcoming legislation on the industry as well as technology developments and improvements in Rules. The next meeting is planned in Rio de Janeiro in 2014