In the UK offshore oil and gas exploration and production (E&P) industry there is an extensive range of guidance (whether regulations, interpretive guidance on regulations, Approved Codes of Practice (ACoPs), guidelines, codes, standards, etc.) that affects technical matters associated with the regulatory regime. This Catalogue is a concerted attempt to bring together that information in a concise manner.
The need for an offshore technical guidance catalogue is recognised by both industry and HSE, due to:
- A perception of there being diverse guidance and it being difficult to review its completeness or identify any gaps.
- Some organisations might be unaware of some of current guidance.
- Current guidance may not be set against an agreed hierarchy; and, in particular, any declaration of it being 'good practice' needs to be better set in the context of the requirements for as low as is reasonably practicable (ALARP) demonstration.
- Much of the current guidance has been developed on an ad hoc basis rather than from a considered process.
- A move away from prescriptive regulations and HSE guidance to a goal-setting risk-based regulatory regime (e.g. through withdrawal in June 1998 of the 4th edition of DEn Offshore installations: Guidance on design, construction and certification, and replacement by several Offshore Technology (OTO) research reports, as described in the HSE's Operations Notice 27).
- A need to set out what guidance is acceptable to industry and HSE.
An industry/HSE Workshop was held on 7th November 2002 to discuss mapping of technical guidance for UK offshore oil and gas E&P installations and their operation. During this Workshop an initial listing of relevant documents was compiled, agreed by industry and HSE, and was used as the basis for the first edition of the Catalogue. The contents of the Catalogue have subsequently been expanded to include additional documents published after the Workshop, whereas others are included in an effort to widen its value.