ABS leads working group to address safety issues on aging FPSOs

Photo: SBM Offshore

The American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) has brought together leading companies in the floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) sector to address the safety challenges produced by a fleet where more than half of the ship type vessels are over 30 years old and a quarter are over 40 years old.

The working group, consisting of Chevron, Shell Trading (US) Company, Petrobras, MODEC and SBM as well as the Bahamas Maritime Authority (BMA), the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) Registry, and the US Coast Guard Eighth District, led by ABS has already seen the creation of five joint industry projects (JIPs) aimed at using technology to tackle a range of FPSO safety issues.

The JIPs will tackle composite materials repairs for offshore structures, life extension of wire ropes, gauging management software, applications of photogrammetry and 3D LIDAR laser scanning, and the role of artificial intelligence in corrosion analysis.

ABS has also developed its rules, with a significant number of changes applicable to FPSOs, both for existing units and for new facilities. The rule changes are intended to address many of the risks related to aging FPSOs from both a design and a maintenance perspective.

ABS said a total of 55 FPSO units in the global fleet are reaching the end of their design life in the next five years, a further five already have life extension in place, and a further 19 are currently being evaluated for life extension.

The efforts of the working group will produce outcomes that assist with the evaluation and potential acceptance of life extension.

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