Standardization of Offshore Structures Specifications

For industry-level standardization in offshore structures design specifications

Standardization of Offshore Structures Specifications

For industry-level standardization in offshore structures design specifications

About Standardization of Offshore Structures Specifications (JIP35)

Recent trends in oil and gas projects have demonstrated substantial budget and schedule overruns. The Oil & Gas Community within the World Economic Forum (WEF) have implemented a Capital Project Complexity (CPC) initiative which seeks to drive a reduction in upstream project costs with a focus on industry-wide, non-competitive collaboration and standardization.

It is noteworthy that the design, fabrication, and installation contractors in the global offshore industry were faced with a constant change of design specifications as they moved from region to region and from project to project for different operators. Collectively the additional operator requirements (ie. inhouse specifications) added more than 15000 requirements to the base standards from either ISO or API. This created extra work and cost but also carried the risk of confusion and errors.

In 2017, following the publication of the IOGP Operators’ Position and Key Messages on Standards (April 2017) and a successful pilot study for IOGP JIP 33 Standardization of Equipment Specifications for Procurement, the IOGP Offshore Structures Subcommittee discussed improving efficiency in this discipline by reducing or eliminating variation in requirements between operating companies and developing common operator requirements for offshore structures.

It established a Task Force (with administrative support funded by JIP35) to agree on the industry and/or international standards for each discipline and then develop minimum common requirements to improve efficiency and quality while reducing variation and cost.

Eleven IOGP Member companies participate in developing these specifications, with the objective to leverage and improve industry level standardization for projects globally in the oil and gas sector.

The work has developed a minimised set of supplementary requirements for the design and operation of offshore structures based on a critical review of the ten participating members’ company specifications, building on recognised industry and/or international standards.

The task covers 11 subdisciplines, each associated with one industry and/or international standard, for application in the Petroleum and Natural Gas Industries.

The expectation is that the participating and other operating and engineering companies will adopt and reference all parts of the specification series IOGP S-631 for offshore structures, with the participating companies eliminating the supplemental requirements from their in-house specifications.

The IOGP Offshore Structures Subcommittee tracking of the adoption process demonstrates that participating operators are actively adopting these specifications with minimal additional requirements.

This series of specifications has been developed to promote the opportunity to realise benefits from standardization and achieve significant cost reductions for upstream project costs.

It aims to significantly reduce waste, decrease project costs and improve schedule through precompetitive collaboration on standardization. These specifications define the supplementary requirements to recognised industry and/or international standards which are indispensable for the application of this specification.

The Offshore Structures Specification Task Force performed their activities in accordance with IOGP’s Competition Law Guidelines. Terminology used within these Specifications is in accordance with ISO/IEC Directives, Part 2 and as defined in the parent standard.


The objective of this initiative is to provide “minimum specifications” which may be used by any operator to replace or supplement their own specifications. These “minimum specifications” were developed according to the following rules:

  • Based on international or industry standards with (minimum) additional requirements
  • Any additional requirement must be assessed and the value justified
  • Less focus on ‘technical excellence’ and more focus on risk mitigation
  • Safety cannot be compromised

Whilst this task aims to harmonise some internal company specifications and deliver joint specifications providing design efficiencies, which in turn achieve cost savings, the ultimate goal is to facilitate the development of a catalogue of international, globally-relevant standards that can be used locally, worldwide.

The scope comprised standards and specifications for the design of permanent fixed and floating structures, including foundations. For floating structures stability, marine systems and mooring were included. Risers, offloading hoses and mobile units (e.g. jack-ups and drilling semisubmersibles) were excluded.

André van der Stap

Company: Shell

Role: Chair

André van der Stap is Principal Technical Expert offshore structures for Shell as well as Technical Authority and Discipline Lead. As such he supports projects and assets worldwide on high end challenges, supports offshore structures engineers globally as well as Offshore structures standards and new technology. Andre is also part-time associate professor at Technical University Delft for Offshore Structures. He is chair of the Dutch delegation for ISO SC67 TC7 standard’s committee on offshore structures and represents Shell on the IOGP Offshore Structures Subcommittee.

Shell has worldwide 500+ offshore platforms ranging from small, shallow water, fixed, monopile wellhead platforms to large, world record holding, deep water, floating, production facilities for gas, oil or LNG. Whilst the majority is still conventional oil and gas, already there are 100+ offshore wind structures.

Philip Smedley

Company: bp

Role: Vice chair

Philip Smedley is bp’s manager for the offshore structures team where he has global responsibility for bp’s structural engineers engaged on projects and operations related to offshore oil, gas and wind. He is Vice-Chairman for IOGP JIP 35 Task Force, a Vice Chairman of the IOGP Offshore Structures Subcommittee and Chairman of ISO/TC 67 Chairman responsible for all 220 oil and gas standards. He has also previously chaired the IOGP Offshore Structures Subcommittee and ISO/TC 67/SC7 Offshore structures committee.

Key contacts:

Please contact us via email at

Related content

3 questions on Standards

In each edition of Pulse, we publish a short interview with an IOGP colleague or Committee Member. This month’s interview is with Sajeev Menon, IOGP’s recently appointed Standards Manager.

Offshore Structures Specification Task Force presentation available

Like the Joint Industry Project (JIP) 33, JIP 35 aims to achieve industry-level standardization. Its focus is on offshore structures specifications, driving reductions in upstream project costs through a decrease in variation in requirements between operating companies.

IOGP offshore structures project publishes its first four specifications – with seven more to follow

A new IOGP initiative to reduce upstream project costs has published its first four specifications.

Back to top button