The optimal design of offshore structures is formulated as a decision theoretical problem. The objective is to maximize the net present value of the service life benefit. The general optimization problem is simplified by taking into account the cost impacts of only one possible reconstruction of the structure. The analytical solution to this problem has been derived for the case, where failure events follow a stationary Poisson process. The service life benefit is formulated in terms of the production profile, the design and construction costs, the costs of failure and the costs of reconstruction. In order to assess the effect of potential loss of lives, the costs of fatalities are included applying the concept of the Imp lied Costs of Averting a Fatality (ICAF). The suggested approach to optimal design, which can be applied for any type of offshore structure, is exemplified considering the special case of steel structures. Here it is standard to represent the ultimate structural capacity in terms of the Reserve Strength Ratio (RSR). For the purpose of illustration, the relation between material usage and RSR valid for monopod structures is applied. Optimal RSR’s and annual failure rates are assessed for both manned and un-manned structures covering a wide range of different realistic ratios between the potential income and costs of construction, failure and re construction costs.

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