ABS has released the ABS Guide for Dynamic Positioning Systems as a significant update to present classification requirements to reflect industry advancements in the use of dynamic positioning (DP) systems.
“The use of DP systems has been expanded not only in terms of the number of vessels outfitted with the systems, but also in the increasing advancement of DP technologies,” says Vice President, Energy Project Development, Ken Richardson, noting that the vast majority of newbuild floating mobile offshore drilling units will have DP capability.
“DP reliability is particularly important in frontier areas where deepwater drilling is reaching greater depths, and in challenging harsh-weather environments around the world,” Richardson explains. “The new Guide provides standards for enhanced notations to guide clients in selecting the level of compliance for a vessel’s DP capability, which broadens the notation choices, increasing the likelihood of getting a unit outfitted with the most appropriate system for each application.”
The new Enhanced System (EHS) notation encourages robust designs of DP systems by providing optional requirements. The multiple levels of EHS notation – for power, control and fire protection – provide owners with the flexibility to tailor the notation to the most important components of the system for the unit’s intended operations.
Because these newbuilds will work around the globe, the ABS Guide for Dynamic Positioning Systems offers an optional notation for Station-Keeping Performance (SKP). The notation allows owners to select equipment based on North Sea conditions or to select environmental criteria specific to the intended areas of operation.
The DP Guide also includes detailed procedures for assessing available thrust, taking into account thruster interactions (thruster-thruster, thruster-hull, thruster-current), which is especially useful in the early stages of design.
In developing the new ABS Guide for Dynamic Positioning Systems, ABS drew, not only on its years of related experience with DP installations, but also on expertise from equipment manufacturers, owners, operators and industry experts. Part of that process included a workshop in Houston where more than 40 experts participated in a discussion about DP systems and what the industry needs. The results of this event steered the development efforts that produced the recently released Guide.
“This truly collaborative approach to Guide development allows ABS to work with industry to provide guidance that facilitates continued safe operations as the industry’s needs evolve,” says ABS Vice President for Offshore Technology Bret Montaruli. “We understand that DP system reliability is vital to operational safety. And we developed the new Guide to address the diverse and growing needs of the industry with respect to DP systems.”