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ISO Floating and Fixed Standards ISO 19902, ISO 19903, and ISO 19904
D.N. Galbraith, Poseidon Group AS; W.R. Wolfram, ExxonMobil Development Company.; and S. Leivestad,
Standard Norge

Copyright 2008, Offshore Technology Conference

This paper was prepared for presentation at the 2008 Offshore Technology Conference held in Houston, Texas, U.S.A., 58 May 2008.
This paper was selected for presentation by an OTC program committee following review of information contained in an abstract submitted by the author(s). Contents of the paper have not been
reviewed by the Offshore Technology Conference and are subject to correction by the author(s). The material does not necessarily reflect any position of the Offshore Technology Conference, its
officers, or members. Electronic reproduction, distribution, or storage of any part of this paper without the written consent of the Offshore Technology Conference is prohibited. Permission to
reproduce in print is restricted to an abstract of not more than 300 words; illustrations may not be copied. The abstract must contain conspicuous acknowledgment of OTC copyright.

The ISO 19900 series of international standards comprises different levels of standards, ISO 19900 giving General
Requirements for offshore structures, ISO 19901 giving Specific Requirements for various aspects of offshore structures that
have relevance to different types of offshore structure (in several parts), and then a series of standards giving requirements for
the different generic types of offshore structure.
Of this last category, three have now been published; ISO 19902 for Fixed Steel Offshore Structures, ISO 19903 for Fixed
Concrete Offshore Structures, and ISO 19904-1 for Floating Offshore Structures. The development of these three International
Standards is described in this paper, which gives details of the scope, provenance, key features, contents, and organization of
each of the three standards.
ISO 19902 is a development of API RP2A LRFD, but in the preparation of the International Standard a number of research
and Development Joint Industry Projects (JIPs) were commissioned, and the enhanced knowledge from these projects, together
with knowledge and experience from the offshore operating areas around the world, have been incorporated.
ISO 19903 is a new and somewhat different standard, as it deals with the entire task of engineering a concrete offshore
platform facility, with mechanical systems, etc., rather than just the detailed design of its concrete members. To a large extent
the standard relies on the existence of national or regional standards for design of concrete structures that can be safely used in
an offshore concrete structure, as such structures can range from quite simple to really sophisticated structures.
ISO 19904-1 is a new standard entirely. It is based partly on API RP 2FPS, which was developed in the same timeframe,
but includes concepts taken and harmonized from North Sea practice represented by then HSE and NPD guidelines and from
class rules. Some text was written specifically for this standard, particularly the clause on structural integrity monitoring and
various sub clauses elsewhere that represent lessons learned in from industry experience during the period in which the
standard was written.
The ISO 19900 series of international standards (Snell, 2008) comprises ISO 19900 General Requirements for offshore
structures, ISO 19901 giving Specific Requirements for various aspects of offshore structures that have relevance to different
types of offshore structure in several parts (Wisch et al, 2008), and then a series of standards giving requirements for the
different generic types of offshore structure. The full current list of standards is shown below:
IS0 19900
IS0 19901-1
IS0 19901-2
IS0 19901-3
IS0 19901-4
IS0 19901-5
IS0 19901-6
IS0 19901-7

General Requirements for offshore structures

Metocean design and operating considerations
Seismic design procedures and criteria
Topsides structure
Geotechnical and foundation design considerations
Weight control during engineering and construction
Marine operations
Stationkeeping systems for floating offshore structures and mobile offshore units

Published 2002
Published 2005
Published 2004
Scheduled 2009
Published 2004
Published 2003
Scheduled 2009
Published 2005

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IS0 19902
IS0 19903
IS0 19904-1
IS0 19905-1
IS0 TR 19905-2
ISO 19906

Fixed steel offshore structures

Fixed concrete offshore structures
Floating offshore structures Part 1: Monohulls, semi-submersibles and spars
Site-specific assessment of mobile offshore units Part 1: Jack-ups
Site-specific assessment of mobile offshore units Part 2: Jack-ups commentary
Arctic offshore structures

Published 2007
Published 2006
Published 2006
Scheduled 2010
Scheduled 2010
Scheduled 2010

Each of the generic structure International Standards has been based on a pre-existing document already in the public
domain, either as a complete document, as parts of an existing document, or a compilation of parts of different documents. The
process of creating each international standard has involved discussion to reach a harmonized text that accommodated
different conditions and, to some extent, different philosophies and criteria around the world. An example of this is in the
specification of steel in ISO 19902, where, because there is no truly international consensus among steel manufacturing
companies, the standard has had to accommodate the use of different specifications in different areas.
The overall move to Internationalization of the oil and gas industry standards has been well documented (e.g.,
Baryshnikov, Johansen, Loppinet and Stark, 2005). In essence there is a standing ISO technical committee, TC67, overseeing
the various projects of the oil, natural gas and petrochemical industries. Below TC67 are a number of groups including 7
subcommittees (SCs) each addressing different aspects of the business. SC7 is responsible for the offshore structures
standards, and has several workgroups (WGs) reporting to it. Each of the workgroups is responsible for one or more
International Standards; hence WG3 (or with its full designation ISO TC67 SC7 WG3) is responsible for ISO 19902, the first
edition of ISO 19900, and 4 parts of ISO 19901; WG4 is responsible for ISO 19903; and WG5 is responsible for ISO 19904-1
and for ISO 19901-7.
Each of the committees, subcommittees and workgroups has international representation. The number of countries
represented on SC7 has varied slightly over the years, but currently it has 19 participating countries and further 9 countries
having observer status. In addition there are 4 international organizations with formal liaisons with SC7; these are the
International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (OGP), the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS),
the International Association of Drilling Contractors (IADC), and the US Minerals Management Service (MMS).
Generally the workgroups do not have as widespread geographic representation as TC67 and SC7; however, each member
country has a right, and if they formally supported each New Work Item Proposal an obligation, to nominate a national
expert to each workgroup. These national experts know the custom and practice with regard to offshore structures for their
own countries and any particular characteristics in their area (e.g., meteorological and oceanographic conditions).
Each of the three workgroups was organized by establishing a number of technical panels, recognizing the complexity of
the standards and the fact that while the workgroup conveners themselves had a good overall understanding of the design and
operation of their type of structure, there were also areas in which more specialist understanding existed within small groups of
experts. A specialist in each of these areas was nominated to lead the technical panel and asked to propose other members of
the technical panel who also had a very good understanding of that area. These panels were then given technical responsibility
for specific clauses in the Standard.
ISO speak why and how
A first comparison of the style of an International Standard with many of the documents we have traditionally used as
guidance shows that some of the word forms are more structured. ISO documents are prepared under the joint ISO / IEC
Directives which have been carefully prepared by the Central Secretariat of those organizations. It is not necessary to go into
any of the details of these directives in this paper beyond explaining the rationale for the directives. There are two primary
reasons for the level of detail, which are:

To minimize ambiguity in the Standards to prevent deliberate or accidental misinterpretation of the Standard
writers intent; and


To aid the translation of the standard into other languages without any change in meaning.

It is, however, worthwhile explaining the use of certain words in which their use in an ISO is more specific than in normal

used to indicate requirements from which no deviation is permitted;


used to indicate a recommendation;

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used to indicate an intent, in practice the main use of the word will in an International Standard
relates to the content of another International Standard which has not yet been published;


used for statements of possibility and capability, whether material, physical or causal, generally outside
the control of the Standard writer or the users;


used to indicate permission when the International Standard allows different course of action.


used instead of load in many cases; whereas a load is externally applied, such as by waves, gravity etc,
the term action includes indirect effects such as distortions, thermal effects, reaction forces etc.

There are many other requirements in the directives, such as in a formula Times New Roman Italic characters represent
variables while Arial Upright characters represent constants; however, in the opinion of the authors these nuances will not be
noticed by most users, nor is it necessary for them to be.
Format of the documents
Many of the offshore structures International Standards have been derived from the API Committee 2 Recommended Practices
in which there is the guidance followed by a commentary. This format has generally been found useful to the users and hence
has been adopted in most of our International Standards. In the ISO documents the requirements are contained within the main
text which is Normative. Annex A of the ISOs is an Informative Annex containing additional information and guidance.
ISO Central Secretariat have allowed a deviation from their directives to allow the text in this Annex A to have the same
clause numbering as the relevant text in the main text. The commentary in Annex A includes the background to the main
requirements and advice on the use of the requirements.
Where applicable the last Annex in each ISO contains Regional Information, the use of which has been to allow a
description of features that are specific to different areas, for example in ISO 19901-1, Metocean criteria, the Regional
Information Annex contains a description of the types of weather encountered in different seas.
Development of an International Standard
It has been noted that the ISO process gives a long lead time to the production of each standard. There are a number of
contributory factors to the timescale:
A significant amount of new work has been incorporated into some of the documents, and the overall timescale has
included the time for that R&D to be undertaken and analyzed and consensus to be achieved on the effect on the requirements.
The Internationalization process requires harmonization to be achieved between the national experts and the customs and
practices they represent. It should be noted that in almost all cases consensus has been achieved and the only differences in the
application of the document are due to physical differences between geographic areas. With regard to ISO 19902, the only
significant area in which consensus has not been possible was in the selection of steel types for different parts of a structure.
There are a number of distinct stages in the development of an ISO:
Working Draft

These are versions of the standards that are kept within the working group and not
intended to be sufficiently developed for review outside the workgroup.

Committee Draft

At CD stage, a standard is sufficiently advanced to allow the subcommittee members to

review and make comments on the document. In practice, some SC7 member countries
have distributed CDs to selected people outside SC7 in order to get initial feedback on
the content and structure of the Standards.

Draft International Standard

A DIS is a publically Available Document, in that anyone can obtain a copy of it. This
is the main formal comment stage in the development of an ISO. A DIS is published by
ISO Central Secretariat and distributed by the standards bodies in each country. A 5
month review and comment period is allowed, after which each country has to submit
any comments together with voting as to whether a standard can continue to the next
stage or whether more work is required before a second review and vote.

Final Draft International Standard

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The FDIS, as the name implies, is the final step for the subcommittee prior to the
publication of a full International Standards. At this stage, all comments received on the
DIS have to have been addressed (albeit that resolution of comments can be deferred to
a subsequent edition). ISO Central Secretariat carry out a lengthy and rigorous review of
the document to ensure that the directives have been followed and to try to pick up any
inconsistencies or ambiguities in the document. The result of the shorter FDIS review is
a Yes/No vote for publication, although minor corrections can be incorporated prior to

Exposure levels
Certain parts of the world, such as the Northern North Sea are typified by very large platforms, in terms of topsides weight and
process complexity, and by severe environmental conditions in which the platforms are expected to remain both fully manned
and in production. In other areas such as the Gulf of Mexico, the platforms have smaller topsides and the governing design
case is the occasional hurricane. The larger hurricanes are identified several days before they potentially impact the platforms.
The combination of the relative infrequency of hurricanes (compared with North Sea storms) and the lower manning levels
allows the Gulf of Mexico operators to evacuate all platforms that could be impacted by a hurricane, and hence Gulf of
Mexico platforms tend to have been shut-in and de-manned for the design events. In other areas, including parts of the Gulf of
Mexico and the Southern North Sea, platforms are unmanned and have a small hydrocarbon inventory.
Given the different consequences of failure of the platforms in these different cases, there is a case for requiring different
levels of safety, or structural reliability, for the different manning levels and other consequences. To this end the International
Standards have introduced the concept of Exposure Levels, L1 being the highest implications requiring the highest reliability
and L3 being the lowest level and lowest reliability. The abbreviation for the requirements for each exposure level is given
Exposure Level
Manned non-evacuated
Any platform except as below










Low consequence

Medium consequence

High consequence

Wells have failsafe subsurface valves

Wells have failsafe subsurface valves

All others

No oil storage except

process inventory

No oil storage except

process inventory and surge

Manned Evacuated
1) reliable forecast sufficient to
allow evacuation
2) evacuation is planned before
3) sufficient time and resources
for evacuation
1) Only occasional visits
2) No long visits during storm
3) Meet evacuation criteria

Pipelines either low

inventory or with safety or
check valves

Pipelines either low

inventory or with safety or
check valves
Consequence Criteria

Risk to personnel not on the installation, environment, economic

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The full requirements to allow a platform to be described as below Exposure Level L1 are given in the various standards.
Although it was relatively easy to derive the concept of the exposure levels, and even to determine the criteria it is
somewhat more difficult to work out how to apply them; however, some attempt has been made to describe differences in the
application of the exposure levels, particularly in ISO 19901-3 and in ISO 19902. One possible application is to use different
partial action or partial resistance factors (the safety factors), but as yet there have been no conclusions as to how the reliability
of structures should vary between different exposure levels.
ISO 19902, Fixed Steel Offshore Structures
Development of ISO 19902
The scope of ISO 19902 covers fixed steel offshore structures for the oil and gas industries. It specifically addresses the
jackets, towers, mono-towers and caissons but does not include the topsides structure, which will be addressed in ISO
19901-3. Depending on its circumstances, a jack-up can fall within the scope of ISO 19902. Most jack-up operations fall
within the scope of its classification society and the requirements of what will be ISO 19905 for the site specific assessment of
mobile units (based on the SNAME guidance), however a jack-up purpose built for use at a single location as a production
platform falls under ISO 19902, as does any jack-up that does not have valid certifications from an IACS member.
The base document for the preparation of ISO 19902 was the 1st edition of API RP2A LRFD, but this was supplemented by
those parts of the UK HSE guidance notes relating to fatigue, and further supplemented by the results of several research and
developments projects undertaken to support the development of the ISO. The majority of these projects were undertaken in
the US and in Europe, and the informative annex and the bibliography give descriptions of the reports and results of these
ISO TC67 / SC7 / WG3 was initially split into 10 technical panels, although one of these was subsequently split into 4
separate panels. The technical panels were:
Panel 1


Primarily responsible for ISO 19901-1 but also contributed to ISO 19902

Panel 2

Actions (loadings)

Worked closely with Panel 1 Clauses 8 to 10

Panel 3 M


Clause 13

Panel 3 J


Clause 14

Panel 3 C

Other components

Clause 15

Panel 3 X

Analysis methods

Clause 12

Panel 4


Clause 17, parts of Clause 22 and also ISO 19901-4

Panel 5


Clause 11 and also ISO 19901-2

Panel 6


Clauses 19, 20 and 21 and Annexes B, C, D, E, F and G

Panel 7


Clause 18

Panel 8

In service

Clauses 24, 25 and 26

Panel 9

Topsides Structure

Primarily responsible for ISO 19901-3

Panel 10

Other considerations

Parts of clause 22

WG3 itself addressed the initial clauses and high level text in Clauses 1 to 7. Once the preparation of the majority of the
text was well underway, an editing panel was created to translate the technical text into ISO speak and to ensure
completeness, clarity, avoidance of ambiguity and consistency of style. The use of this editing panel, which worked on several
of the ISOs, was successful and has been followed by the other workgroups.
Key Features
ISO 19902 is a Load and Resistance Factor Design (LRFD) standard, also known as a Limit State Method standard. In this
method partial action factors (load factors) and partial resistance factors are applied to both sides of the load and resistance
equation. The factors are derived from a consideration of the variability of the loads or of the resistance formulation, and hence
a more uniform level of safety is achieved than with the traditional working stress design approach. Although superficially the
LRFD method is more complicated, the application using modern design and analysis techniques is no more complicated once

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the analysis software is set up. A great advantage of the method is that the practicing engineers become more aware of the
statistical variability of the loadings and there is a potential of modifying the factors if there is sufficient understanding of that
There are many changes to the API RP2A LRFD recommendations throughout the text of ISO 19902, however the most
significant changes are:

The fatigue requirements have been improved, but also a description of the fatigue process, including the
derivation of fatigue loadings, analysis and assessment, has been added. These additions should both aid
understanding of fatigue and lead to more consistent fatigue analyses.

A clause has been added on analysis methods generally, giving both requirements and recommendations on both
standard and advanced analysis techniques.

Guidance has been added on the derivation of resistances from test results and from finite element analyses

The main text of ISO 19902 includes the use of the partial action factor for environmental loads, but does not give a value
for the factor. As noted above, the LRFD approach allows the partial action factor to be a function of the wave climate, so the
environmental action factor should vary between different sites. The informative text includes a default value of 1.35 that may
be used for initial design if there is no better number available.
Two approaches have been included for material, welding and fabrication requirements. These have been termed the
material category approach, in which the required properties are determined from a structural components location in a
structure, and a more analytical design class approach, in which the required properties are derived from a consideration of
the stresses on the component.
As noted above, the exposure level concept has been incorporated into ISO 19902; however, use of the levels with in
document is at present limited. The exposure level concept has been applied in the following areas:

Assessment criteria can consider return periods.

Some information on partial action factors for North Sea and Australia.

Return periods for seismic events.

Material selection using material class approach.

Default in-service inspection intervals.

Quality system documentation requirements.

It is hoped that the use of the exposure level can be extended in future editions.
A brief description of the contents of each clause or group of clauses is given below. The descriptions apply to both the main
text and the same clauses of informative Annex A:
Clauses 1-5

The first clause defines the scope of the document. In general, the scope of an ISO is relatively
short, about 150 words, so that it can be used as the scope on web sites. Clauses 2 to 5 contain
normative references, definitions, symbols and abbreviations.

Clause 6 and 7, Overall

considerations and
General design

Clause 6 contains descriptions of the various types of fixed steel offshore structure and also the
definition of exposure levels, while clause 7 contains high level requirements describing the
various design situations, design checks, robustness and reserve strength.

Clause 8 to 11, Actions


These 4 clauses cover pre-service and removal situations, in-place situations, abnormal and
accidental situations and seismic situations, respectively. The clauses contain descriptions of the
various loading components and the applicable partial action factors and combinations. Some
modification of the lifting condition action factors is expected to be aligned with the expected
ISO 19901-6 on marine operations.

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Clause 12, Analysis

This is new text compared to API RP2A and contains analysis principles, requirements and
guidance for different types of analysis and for the interpretation of the results.

Clause 13, Tubular


The requirements for tubular members are based on API RP2A, but more data has been included
in the statistical analysis. Improvements have been made to the formulations, particularly with
regard to hydrostatic pressure and damaged braces.

Clause 14, Tubular joints

Although the base document for ISO 19902 was API RP2A LRFD and many improvements
have been made to the strength formulation, these improvements have also been made to API
RP2A WSD editions as the work was shared between API and ISO. The earlier research work
was generally undertaken in Europe and the more recent work by EWI in the US.

Clause 15, Other


Clause 15 is in three parts, covering components other than tubular members and joints. The
three parts are:

grouted connections which include grouted pile connections;

mechanical connections which included threaded, flanged, dogged and swaged

connections; and

repair and strengthening connections

for both strength and fatigue considerations.

Clause 16, Fatigue
details and analysis

There have been major changes in the text on fatigue. Previous API text has related primarily to
fatigue resistance. The new ISO contains a complete description of the fatigue assessment
process from the derivation of fatigue actions, through analysis, to the fatigue resistance
assessment, life requirements and weld improvement techniques.

Clause 17, Foundations

The foundations text covers the design of piles and includes the ISO version of the latest
guidance on piles in sand.

Clause 18, Corrosion


Passive galvanic anode systems and active impressed current systems are described and design
equations are given. Corrosion resistant materials are described and requirements for fabrication
installation and inspection are given.

Clause 19-21 +
Appendices B to G,
Materials and Fabrication

As noted above, there are two different approaches included in ISO 19902, known as Material
Category (MC) and Design Class (DC). While the main text gives the fundamental
requirements for materials, welding and quality, further requirements and guidance are given in
a series of annexes. Annex B details CTOD test procedures; the materials requirements are given
in Annex C for the MC approach and in Annex D for the DC approach; Welding and weld
inspection requirements are given in Annex E for the MC approach and in Annex F for the DC
approach; and Fabrication tolerance requirements are given in Annex G.

Clause 22, Installation etc

Several load out methods are included, including skidding and trailered, transportation
requirements are also given. Installation covers the placement of structures on the seabed, pile
installation and installation of conductors and topsides.

Clause 23, In service

inspection and structural
integrity management

The intent of this clause is to encourage an owner or operator to understand the strengths and
limitations of each of his structures. Default inspection requirements are given; however, these
are deliberately onerous, such that investing in data management and understanding the needs
for inspection will result in more efficient inspection programs.

Clause 24, Assessment of

existing structures

Requirements and guidance are given for the assessment process and the various stages,
including data collection; structural assessment initiators; acceptance criteria; and assessment of
structure condition, actions and resistance.

Clause 25, Reuse

Brief requirements are given for reuse of structures, including strength, fatigue and inspection

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Annex H, Regional

Regional information has been included for North West Europe and for Canada (any regional
information for US waters will initially be included in API RP2A LRFD 2nd Edition, which will
contain an API wrapper and the ISO 19902 text). The NW Europe text contains descriptions
of the regulatory regimes and also gives the partial action factor for environmental actions. That
for Canada gives more information, much of which addresses considerations for steel structures
in arctic waters.


Although Clause 2 contains normative references that are necessary for the correct application of
some of the requirements, there are numerous references called up from Annex A to background
information and analysis of data, This information is useful to curious engineers wanting to
understand why the requirements are what they are, but will also be useful when changes to the
text are considered in the future.

ISO 19903, Fixed Concrete Offshore Structures

Development of ISO 19903
ISO 19903 is applicable to fixed concrete offshore structures for the petroleum and natural gas industry and specifies
requirements and provides recommendations that are applicable to the:

design, construction, transportation and installation of new fixed concrete offshore structures, including
requirements for in-service inspection and possible removal of structures;


assessment of fixed concrete offshore structures in service;


assessment of fixed concrete offshore structures for reuse at other locations.

The standard is intended to cover the engineering processes needed for the major engineering disciplines to establish a
facility for offshore operation. It can also be used for the design of floating concrete structures, as specified in ISO 19904, and
for arctic structures, as specified in ISO 19906.
In order to provide a standard that will be useful to the industry, a comprehensive treatment of some topics is provided
where there is otherwise no relevant reference. For such well-known topics as the design formulae for concrete structural
members, this standard is intended to be used in conjunction with a suitable reference standard for basic concrete design. The
designer may use suitable national or regional design standards that provide the required level of safety.
WG 4 have in its work relied on contributions from the same panels as working for WG 3 for the topics of common nature,
while separate panels have been established for subjects specific ISO 19903 namely for:

Structural Analysis

Concrete Works

Mechanical Systems

Marine Operations was originally established as a Panel to prepare a chapter in ISO 19903 but was later transformed into a
separate WG preparing a general part common for all types of structures
Key Features
As it can be seen from the list of contents, the standard covers all major engineering disciplines involved in the engineering of
a fixed offshore concrete platform. As these platforms are unique, employing many of a large range of systems and having
different purposes, the standard is more of an engineering guidance than a collection of detailed requirements. However it
gives clear advice on what to consider, and what to achieve.
The standard gives requirements for the overall organization and planning. It gives requirements for the qualifications of
personnel and for documentation. It also addresses the requirements for the planning of investigations and for decision making
in establishing both the functional aspects and the design criteria in general.
The standard covers the establishment of design loads, loading scenarios and load combinations and also methods to
analyze structures to establish the basis for a safe design. The design of concrete members can however be performed in
accordance with a recognized reference standard, covering all aspects relevant for the structural design of fixed concrete
offshore structures. The standard identifies a number of areas of design that can be relevant, depending on circumstances. If

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these areas are applicable they shall be appropriately covered by the selected reference standard, and where necessary
supplemented with additional requirements. For complex structures, where higher grades of concrete are used and where the
loading conditions are severe, specific requirements are included in the standard.
The reference standard to be used should be agreed at an early stage in a project, as the choice of standard can strongly
influence the platform geometry and dimensions, while standards not intended for offshore use can be unnecessarily
conservative on certain aspects relevant to offshore conditions. The reference standard to be used shall comply with the basic
principles of ISO 19900. In an informative note it is pointed out that Norwegian Standard NS 3473.E (English translation) has
been widely used and is recognized to meet the requirements of ISO 19903. However, any standard may be used as a reference
standard provided that it is supplemented by additional requirements, where necessary, to ensure that all relevant aspects for
the design are properly covered, and that the list of aspects can be used as a check list when selecting the reference standard to
be used for a specific project. Canadian standard CAN/CSA-S474-04 is also specifically mentioned in ISO 19903.
Due to the demands of the marine environment ISO 19903 gives more detailed requirements when it comes to concrete
materials and execution. In existing national or regional standards these aspects are scarcely handled, and where they are, it is
not in a manner that makes reference to such standards viable. ISO standards prepared/under preparation by ISO TC71/SC3
are however considered when establishing the requirements, in order to obtain consistency.

Clauses 1-4 -Deals with general information on Scope, terms and definitions, etc.

Clause 5, General requirements - Deals with over all requirements to planning, Quality systems, Documentation etc.
and the establishing of functional requirements related to the platforms operation and conditions at site, and the
basic criteria for the design.

Clause 6, Actions and Action Effects - Deals with classification of actions, and the establishing of environmental
actions, functional actions and accidental actions. It deals with the load combinations, the load factors and Exposure

Clause 7, Structural Analysis Deals with the different types of analyses required for structural design, such as
static, dynamic, seismic, fatigue linear and non-linear.

Clause 8, Concrete works Deals with design, materials and execution of concrete works. It refers to existing
standards for design while it give detailed requirements for the materials, concrete, reinforcement, prestressing, etc.
and the execution of the construction works.

Clause 9, Foundation design Deals with the design of gravity base foundations, which are quite different from
those for the other types of offshore structures.

Clause 10, Mechanical systems Deals with the design of the permanent systems for the operation of the platform
in service and the temporary systems required during construction, tow and installation. This chapter is considered
quite unique.

Clause 11, Marine operations and construction afloat Deals with a few basic requirements, while reference is
made to ISO 19901-6.

Clause 12, Corrosion control Deals with requirements for corrosion control and requirement to the cathodic
protection systems that are commonly used.

Clause 13, Topsides interface design Deals with the design of the interface and the deck/shaft structural
connection, and the problems at the interface seen from the perspective of the concrete structure.

Clause 14, Inspection and condition Monitoring Deals with activities directed at ensuring the performance, safety
and durability in service.

Clause 15, Assessment of existing structures Deals in only a few words with what initiates an assessment and
according to what principles it shall be performed.

Development of ISO 19904

The scope of ISO 19904-1 includes the structural design and/or assessment of floating offshore platforms used by the
petroleum and natural gas industries for all combinations of drilling, production, storage and offloading operations. It does,


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however, specifically exclude classed MODUs used for drilling and/or well intervention, which are covered by the IMO
MODU code, and all types of construction vessels, such as crane barges, pipelay barges, etc. It covers the typical structural
forms used for floating platforms, specifically monohull FPSOs and FSOs, semisubmersible FPSs and spar-shaped FPSs. It
addresses both new build hulls and conversion of existing hulls. The primary topics addressed are actions and global analysis,
structural analysis and design, fatigue analysis, mechanical systems that relate to hull integrity, stability, in-service inspection,
and interfaces with topsides, stationkeeping, risers and offloading systems.
At the time that work on ISO 19904-1 began, there was no single published source document to use as a reference. API
had already begun work on a somewhat parallel document, API RP 2FPX, the forerunner of RP 2FPS, but it was still at an
early draft stage. The existing draft was reviewed, and material was taken from it where applicable. After a hiatus in the mid1990s, a renewed effort began in 1998 to progress API RP 2FPS to completion. The synergy with ISO 19904-1 was
recognized and some review and mutual sharing of material occurred between the API task group and the ISO work group
over the following two years, particularly in the areas of spar design and mechanical systems. Other source documents used
included the HSE Fourth Edition Guidance Notes, NPD Regulations, IMO MODU Code and IMO Code on Intact Stability,
NORSOK Standards, API RP 2RD, RP 2SK and RP 2T, and class society rules.
The initial draft of the standard was written by 6 primary technical panels that addressed each of six main technical areas
(Wolfram, 1997). Once the main text had been reviewed and revised through several drafts, a WG5 Editing Panel was named
to take the draft standard, review and edit it for technical clarity and make it consistent with ISO Directives and the other
standards in the 19900 series. This work of necessity has to be done by a small group of 3 or 4 people who can devote
extended periods of time, i.e., several days or a week without interruption, have an intimate knowledge of the ISO Directives
and template, and have a broad understanding of the underlying technology being standardized. The WG5 Editing Panel
developed the DIS and FDIS versions of the standard, interacting with the technical panels and with Work Group 5 for review
and comment. The completed standard was published in November 2006.
In the course of editing the document, several content changes were agreed with SC7. Originally, ISO 19904-1 also
covered risers, stationkeeping and TLPs, as well as the permanently moored floating platforms. Fairly early on the Work
Group recognized that riser design is a complex topic itself. There are many types of risers whose design requirements are
covered by a number of different standards. Furthermore, riser design is normally done by riser specialists rather than the
main hull designers. Therefore it was decided to make reference to relevant existing riser standards, and some still under
development, and address only the riser interface issues within ISO 19904-1.
During initial editing, stationkeeping was broken out into a separate standard. The Editing Panel felt that two separate
standards would be clearer, more concise and easier to maintain long term than one. The stationkeeping part of the standard
applied to site-specific assessment of MODUs, while the clauses on the floating structure design did not. Furthermore, there
was no reason to assume longer term that hull design and mooring technology would advance at the same rate and that the
need for updates would coincide. Therefore the stationkeeping clauses were developed into a separate stand-alone standard by
the Editing Panel and Mooring Technical Panel. This standard was issued as ISO 19901-7 in December 2005. ISO 19904-1
makes reference to this standard for mooring design and discusses only the interface in the body of text.
A little later in the development, a decision was taken to remove TLP's and address them in a separate standard. Thus
ISO 19904 was split into 2 parts, with ISO 19904-1 covering the floating platforms and ISO 19904-2 reserved for TLPs. The
reason for this change was that TLPs, while having some aspects in common with floaters, also have significant differences.
They are really compliant platforms. Their in-place stability comes from tendon tension, and the whole approach to tendon
design is unique compared to a mooring system. Trying to treat both types of platforms in the same document could lead to a
number of areas of possible confusion. Furthermore, the source document for the TLP material in ISO 19904 had been the 2nd
edition of API RP 2T, which was by then becoming dated, with API having begun work on the 3rd edition. Work on
ISO 19904-2 has been deferred and no decision has been made on when to initiate work on it pending final publication of
API RP 2T, 3rd Edition.
Key Features
The standard is written based on the limit state design approach. The structure must satisfy design requirements for four limit
states, serviceability, ultimate, fatigue and accidental. In addition it must satisfy stability criteria in each limit state. Checking
the structure for global strength in each limit state can be done using either the partial factor approach or working stress design
approach. Partial action factors and resistance or material factors are given based on accepted industry practice in the North
Sea. For the working stress design approach, the user is referred to Recognized Class Society (RCS) rules, which are typically
written in working stress design terms, for the safety factor to use. It is recognized that allowing the two approaches does not
guarantee that precisely the same level of reliability will be achieved depending on which approach is taken for a given design.
However, the resulting reliability is expected to be within an acceptable range based on industry experience.

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Reference is made to RCS class rules for the development of initial scantlings, for working stress design safety factors and
for design of local and secondary structure. RCS is defined as a member of IACS with recognized and relevant competence
and experience in floating structures and with established rules and procedures for classification/certification of installations
used in the petroleum or natural gas activities, located at a specific site for an extended period of time. The emphasis in the
standard is on performing site-specific first principles analysis of all primary structure, adjusting the initial scantlings where
necessary to meet the criteria. Buckling also must be checked to RCS Rules, or another recognized buckling code like API
Bul 2U and 2V.
Another key feature of the document is that it emphasizes the link between design and long-term condition monitoring.
Since the structures are intended to remain in-place for their design life of 20+ years, it is important that this assumption is
fully reflected in the design. This includes the fatigue analysis, the corrosion protection system design and making provision
for access for inspection. It is also important that the in-service inspection plan is developed with input and feedback from the
designers who understand the risks and consequences of the various types of degradation that should be detected by the
inspection. It is also important that there is a proper handover of design documentation from the designers to the operating
organization who will ultimately be responsible for monitoring and maintaining structural integrity over its life. There is a
detailed description and basic requirements for setting up a structural integrity management system to ensure structural
integrity over its operating life. This should include a database to contain design information and inspection results and
The contents of the standard are briefly summarized as follows:

Clauses 1-4 cover the scope, definition of terms, symbols and abbreviations.

Clause 5, Overall considerations, covers general principles, functional and safety requirements.

Clause 6, Basic design requirements, covers exposure levels, limits states, and defining design situations. Three
exposure levels are defined, consistent with ISO 19902; however, requirements are presented only for L1 floating
structures, the highest exposure level.

Clause 7, Actions and action effects, covers the various actions that should be considered in the design of a
floating structure and how they are quantified, e.g., wind actions, current actions, etc. This clause also specifies
how actions should be combined for assessing the different limit states.

Clause 8, Global Analysis, covers frequency and domain analysis to determine motions, coupled and uncoupled
analysis to determine platform offset, air gap determination and how to perform model tests.

Clause 9, Structural analysis, covers common elements of structural strength analysis and design requirements for
all types of floating structures. This clause specifies how representative actions are defined for different operating
phases and outlines the partial factor design method, as well as the working stress method, and gives the factors for
both. Finally it highlights the very important interface between the hull and topsides structure.

Clause 10, Fatigue analysis, covers the various aspects of conducting the fatigue analysis including a set of fatigue
life safety factors and use of fracture mechanics methods.

Clause 11 - 13, Monohulls, Semi-submersibles, Spars, each cover hull specific requirements and strength checks
unique to each structural form respectively.

Clause 14, Conversion and reuse, covers the main aspects of converting a hull to a floating platform or reuse at a
different location. It includes considerations such as the pre-conversion survey and accounting for the effects of
prior service on fatigue analysis.

Clause 15, Hydrostatic stability and compartmentation, covers stability checks, compartmentation and
watertightness. It makes reference to the IMO Stability and MODU Codes for much of the detail to avoid repeating
these requirements.

Clause 16, Mechanical systems, covers those systems required for hull integrity and those specific to use of the
floating structure as an oil and gas production facility. Hull systems covered include ballast, bilge, cargo handling,
and fire protection. It also covers interfaces with risers and export/offloading systems.


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Clause 17, Stationkeeping systems, mainly covers the interface with the mooring system and equipment and refers
to ISO 19901-7 for design of the mooring system itself. This clause also specifies requirements on the design of
turrets for monohulls.

Clause 18, In-service inspection, monitoring and maintenance, covers development of a structural integrity
management system as described above.

Future Developments
The Ship Design Technical Committee (TC8) has been working on a set of standards on limit state design of ships based
on use of partial factors, rather than experience based class society rules. When the limit state ship design standards are
completed, these will be reviewed to assess their applicability to design of floating structures, where they could supplement or
replace present references to class rules.
National and Company adoption of ISO 19902, ISO 19903 and ISO 19904
Now that several of the ISO 19900 series have been fully published, countries and companies are deciding how and when they
will be fully implemented. The approach in different countries varies depending on how they have traditionally handled the
interface between national standards and regulations.
In the US the oil and gas standards are being adopted by incorporating them into API documents, in many cases by
reissuing the API document that was used as the source document for the ISO document. There will be some adaption of this
method for the US implementation of the ISO 19900 series documents, and this has been described in more detail (Wisch and
Mangiavacchi, 2008). The API document number will be a combination of the former API number and the ISO number, hence
the fixed steel structure document will, in due course, become API RP2A LRFD / ISO 19902.
Within Europe, through a parallel voting arrangement, the International Standards simultaneously become European
Standards within CEN (the Comit Europen de Normalisation), and are subsequently published by the individual national
standards bodies; hence, the UK version of the fixed steel structure document is BS EN ISO 19902. Although the standard is
thus published by many different bodies in Europe, and potentially in several different languages, the technical content of each
version is identical.
In the UK a goal setting regulatory regime is in place, and the regulatory body is the UK Health and Safety Executive
(HSE). HSE do not see that it is their place to define the standards, tools or techniques that are used with regard to any
offshore operation, but they do have to review and accept the safety case that has to be made for each installation in UK
regulated waters. In this role they can, and do, expect design, modifications and assessments to be in accordance with the most
up-to-date standards available, i.e. with International Standards, and will question the duty holder to ensure that ISOs are
used when applicable. In the event of an incident in UK waters resulting in a prosecution, adherence to an ISO is a satisfactory
defense, but failure to use ISOs severely weakens a defense.
In Norway the industry created a number of Norsok documents. These were intended to be a stop-gap until the ISOs were
published, and in many cases the Norsoks have directly used the text from the draft ISO at the time the Norsok was prepared.
As the ISOs are published the Norwegian industry has a program of reviewing the content of the Norsoks with an intent of
withdrawing as many Norsok documents as possible.
Individual oil companies also have plans to implement the ISOs in future design and assessment work. The method and
timescale varies between the different companies; however Shell and BP intend to implement ISOs as soon as they can.
Maintenance of the standards
Once a International Standard is published it enters a maintenance phase, during which any preparations for addenda,
amendments and subsequent editions are made. The activities that can occur during this phase include:
Any queries on interpretation of the International Standard have to be answered. In many cases, queries will initially be
directed to the national standards body that supplied the standard to the user raising the query. The query then has to be
directed through ISO Central Secretariat and eventually back to the workgroup convener responsible for the Standard. As well
as answering the query, a modification to the standard might be considered, either to correct an error or to clarify the meaning
of the text. So far, out of all the SC7 standards only one typographic error and one clarification has been necessary, both to
ISO 19901-1. As there are plans to publish additional and revised regional information for this particular standard the text will
be amended at the same time.
Following the analysis of the comments on ISO DIS 19902 there were a small number of comments on which there was
insufficient data or a lack of consensus to enable the comment to be resolved, these comments have been deferred, to be
addressed and resolved for a future edition.

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A considerable effort involving several hundred individuals from around the world has resulted in the publication of three
international standards for the design of offshore oil and gas installation for the oil and natural gas industries. A rigorous
development and review cycle has ensured that these documents have world wide applicability when used in conjunction with
the other parts of the ISO 19900 series of standards. These standards have been fully published and are available in different
forms in different countries, and many of the requirements have already been applied in practice.
Protocols have been established for receiving and responding to any queries on the documents and ISO formal procedures
require a periodic review of each document to ensure that they remain valid. Work is in hand to address a small number of
outstanding issues to be incorporated into subsequent addenda, amendments or future editions.
A very large number of individuals (several hundred) have been directly involved in the preparation of the three International
Standards ISO 19902, ISO 19903 and ISO 19904, and the three authors, as convenors of the work groups express their thanks
and gratitude for all work and the support of the work group colleagues, most particularly for the technical panel convenors
and members and the members of the editing panels. It is recognized and acknowledged that many of these individuals were
contributing their own time to the projects and that their time was given in addition to them fulfilling their normal day jobs.
In addition we acknowledge the employers of all the individuals involved This acknowledgement includes the employers
of the 3 authors over the time we have been involved with ISO. We further acknowledge the creators of the various source
documents, including API and the UK HSE.
Thanks are also given to those oil companies and other organizations that have sponsored R&D projects aimed at providing
data for the formulation of the requirements in the standards and also for supporting the OGP limited interest projects that have
supported the editing efforts.
Finally we acknowledge the support, and in particular the flexibility in interpreting their directives, which has been given
by the staff of the International Standards Organization in Geneva.

Baryshnikov, A., Johansen, A.R., Loppinet, A., Miller, D., and Stark, C., International Standards for the Global Oil and Natural Gas
Industry An Update Paper, Offshore Mediterranean Conference, 2005,

Snell, R.O., ISO 19900 Series: Offshore Structures Standards, Proc. 40th Offshore Technology Conf., OTC 19605, Houston, May

Wisch, D.J., ISO 19901-xx, General Standards: The Why and How, Proc. 40th Offshore Technology Conf., OTC 19604, Houston,
May 2008

Wisch, D.J., Changing Times, Proc. 40th Offshore Technology Conf., OTC 19606, Houston, May 2008

Wolfram, W.R., Development of an ISO Standard for Floating Structures, Proc. 29th Offshore Technology Conf., OTC 8420,
Houston, May 1997