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Offshore Structures Design, Construction and Maintenance

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When a structural engineer starts work on offshore structure design, construction or maintenance, the offshore structure may appear to be a black box to him. Most engineering faculties, especially those in structural or civil engineering, focus on the design of residential, administrative, hospital and other domestic buildings from concrete or steel, while other faculty focus on harbor design. The design of offshore structure platforms is a combination of steel structure design methods and loads applied in harbors, such as waves, current and other parameters. 

On the other hand, offshore platform design depends on technical practice, which depends on the experience of the engineering company itself. While the construction of steel structures is familiar to the structural engineer, as anyone can observe construction of a new steel building, the construction and installation of an offshore structure platform are very rarely seen unless one has a direct role in the project, especially because the installation will be in the sea or ocean. 

There are far fewer offshore structures world-wide than there are steel structures for normal buildings on land, and the major design guidance for offshore structures lies in research and development, which is growing very fast to keep pace with development in the global oil and gas business. 

Therefore, all the major oil and gas exploration and production companies support and sponsor research to enhance the design and reliability of offshore structures, in order to improve revenues from their petroleum projects and their assets.

 This book aims to cover the design, construction and maintenance of offshore platforms in detail, with comprehensive focus on the critical issues in design that the designer usually faces. The book also provides the simplest design tools, based on the most popular codes (such as API and ISO) and the other technical standards and practices that are usually used in offshore structure design.

 In addition, it is important to focus on methods for controlling and reviewing the design that most engineers will face in the review cycle, so this book covers the whole range of the offshore structure engineer’s activities. Corrosion of offshore structure platforms costs a lot of money to control and to maintain within the allowance limit so that it will not affect the structure’s integrity, so methods for designing and selecting a suitable cathodic protection system and the advanced methods of protecting the structure from corrosion are very important to the structural engineer, and they are considered in depth in this text.

An offshore structure platform is a considerable asset in the oil and gas industry, so another goal of this book is to assist the structural engineer in making decisions in design that take into consideration the factors, parameters and constraints faced by the owner that control the options and alternatives in the engineering studies phase.

 Furthermore, it is very important to the owner, engineering firm and contractor that the offshore project’s lifespan be identified. In other words, the structural engineer should have an overview of the relation between the structure’s system and its configuration from both an economic and an engineering point of view. Most offshore structure platforms were constructed world-wide in the period of growing oil investment between 1970 and 1980, so these platforms now are over 40 years old. Consequently, a lot of mature offshore structures are going through rehabilitation designed to increase and maintain their structural reliability. 

Development of the integrity management system with up-to-date and advanced techniques for qualitative and quantitative risk assessment has been essential to the risk-based inspection and maintenance planning that enhance the reliability of platforms during their lifespan. Accordingly, this book provides advanced techniques for topside and underwater inspection and assessment of offshore structure platforms, as well as ways to implement the maintenance and rehabilitation plan for the platform that match business requirements. It is also important to present case studies of repair and strengthening of platforms and the methods of decommissioning platforms when required. This book is intended to be a guidebook for junior and senior engineers who work in design, construction, repair and maintenance of fixed offshore structure platforms. 

The text serves as an overview of, and a practical guide to, traditional and advanced techniques in design, construction, installation, inspection and rehabilitation of fixed offshore structure platforms, along with the principles of repairing and strengthening the structures and the methodology for delivering a maintenance plan for the fleet of platforms.