A large number of facilities and parts of the infrastructure on the Norwegian Continental Shelf are approaching or have exceeded their original design life. Many fields, however, have remaining recoverable oil and gas reserves which may be profitable if the field’s life is extended. From a safety point of view, the condition of systems, structures and components may not be acceptable for extended operation. Ageing and life extension have been a top priority for the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) and PSA has asked SINTEF to conduct a study of various aspects of ageing and life extension. The paper presents main results from the study, including how to document the safety of an ageing facility and how to uphold the safety level by means of a maintenance programme balancing three aspects of ageing: 1) Material degradation, 2) Obsolescence, i.e. operations and technology being “out of date” and 3) Organisational issues. The paper presents six main steps of the life extension process and discusses important issues to consider for operators in a life extension process.

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