The construction of an offshore installation must meet a number of requirements.
Safety of the installation means the safety and security measures that have been made in relation with the construction of the installation, so that the risk of fire, explosion, collapse, etc. is As Low As is Reasonably Practicable – the ALARP principle.
Notification of planned design and permit requirements - fixed offshore installations
Before the construction of a fixed offshore installation or larger modification of an existing installation, the operator and the owner must submit a notification of planned design to the Danish Working Environment Authority.
The design notification must be submitted as early as possible during the design phase so that the supervisory authority's comments regarding safety and health conditions and the prevention of major environmental incidents may be included in the completion of the design and in the subsequent Health and Safety Case (HSC). The HSC accounts for the management of safety and health risks as well as risks for major environmental events and is prepared before an installation with a connected infrastructure or a pipeline is put into operation.
Operator and owner shall ensure that the Danish Working Environment Authority permit is obtained before a new fixed installation, mobile installation or pipeline is put into operation or significant changes are made to an existing installation including operational conditions which have an influence on the risk of major accidents. Permit applications must contain a HSC and the operator and owner must ensure that the safety and health risks are identified, evaluated and reduced as much as reasonably practicable.
Equipment on fixed offshore installations
Layout of equipment on fixed offshore installations must comply with rules that partly derive from a number of EU directives. In general, equipment must be CE marked and it should be observed that e.g. pressure equipment, lifts and equipment for use in potentially explosive atmospheres are subject to special rules for design, marking, testing and inspections.
Requirements for documentation - fixed offshore installations
The basic documentation of management of health and safety of a fixed offshore installation among other documentation consist of:
- The Health and Safety Case
- A documented management system for Health and Safety
- Contingency plan for the installation
The Health and Safety Case shall demonstrate that the duty holder (operator or operating company) has assessed the health and safety risks on the installation and reduced them to a level that is as low as reasonably practicable (ALARP), demonstrate that these risks are controlled through a health and management system and in the Contingency plan for the installation demonstrate that all persons on board - if necessary - can be evacuated to a safe place in a quick and controlled manner.
Recognized norms and standards
A significant part of the safety documentation for a fixed installations physical condition is based on compliance with recognized national and international standards and norms, often documented through certification or verification performed by experts recognized by the Danish Working Environment Authority.
Recognized standards related to construction and equipment on the offshore installation, are typically Danish standards (DS), ISO, IEC and EN standards, API standards. Other standards may be used, e.g. Det Norske Veritas (DNV), NORSOK, American Gas Association (AGA) and ASTM.
Operational permits - mobile offshore units
A number of issues for mobile offshore units are regulated through the international maritime rules and standards.
Before mobile units with connection to exploration or production of hydrocarbons offshore are taken into operation in the Danish sector the operator shall obtain an operational permit from the Danish Working Environment Authority. Operational permits are issued on the basis of an application from the operating company.
The application shall demonstrate that the mobile offshore unit is built and will be operated in a manner which ensure that the health and safety risks are identified, assessed and reduced as much as is reasonably practicable – the ALARP principle.
An application for an operation permit shall be accompanied by a Health and Safety Case (HSC). The Health and Safety Case shall demonstrate how the operating company – through management systems and risk assessments – ensures that the mobile offshore unit and its operations comply with the regulation and the ALARP principle.
This shall demonstrate how the management system and the use of risk assessments etc. ensures that the installation and the planned operations will follow the ALARP principle.
International Rules for mobile offshore units
Parts of the regulations for mobile offshore units are regulated through international maritime rules and standards. Most of these standards derive from UN International Maritime Organization IMO including the MODU code which regulates safety conditions regarding construction and equipment of mobile offshore drilling units.
An international collaboration between offshore health and safety authorities in the North Sea and the industry organizations known as IADC (International Association of Drilling Contractors) has developed an international format for health, safety, and environment documentation for drilling rigs (IADC HSE Case).