A large number of the old oil and gas facilities have reached or exceeded their initial design life. With a continued requirement to produce oil or gas, either from the original fields or as a base for neighbouring subsea completions, many of these respective offshore installations are likely to remain operational for a period of time in the foreseeable future. The ageing offshore infrastructure presents a constant and growing challenge. Ageing is characterised by deterioration, change in operational conditions or accidental damages which, in the severe operational environment offshore, can be significant with serious consequences for installation integrity if not managed adequately and efficiently.
In order to ensure technical and operational integrity of these ageing facilities, the fitness for service of these offshore structures should be maintained. The maintenance of structural integrity is a significant consideration in the safety management and life extension of offshore installations. Detailed integrity assessments are needed to demonstrate that there is sufficient technical, operational and organisational integrity to continue safe operation throughout a life extension. Information on history, characteristic data, condition data and inspection results are required to assess the current state and to predict the future state of the facility and the possible life extension.
This paper presents state of art practices in life extension of existing offshore structures and an overview of various aspects of ageing related to offshore facilities, represented risk to the integrity of a facility and the required procedures and re assessment criteria for deciding on life extension.
This paper also provides an overall view in the structural requirements, justifications and calibrations of the original design for the life extension to maintain the safety level by means of a maintenance and inspection programs balancing the ageing mechanisms and improving the reliability of assessment results.