In the late 1960s and early 1970s, there were three offshore events which focused the attention of the US Geological Survey (USGS) on tightening the regulations for offshore safety affecting the petroleum production offshore industry. These were the Unocal Santa Barbara blowout, the Chevron Main Pass platform fire, and the Shell Bay Marchand platform fire. In 1971, a report was prepared by the National Aeronautics & Space Administration (NASA) for the USGS entitled “Applicability of NASA Contract Quality Management and Failure Mode & Effect Analysis (FMEA) Procedures to the US OCS Oil and Lease Management Program.” USGS also contracted General Electric (GE) and Southwest Research Institute (SWRI) to analyze several offshore platform facilities. In May 1972 the USGS published the “OCS Lease Management Study” stating that design specifications for a safety program be implemented by the industry and that hazard analysis should be part of the application for new platforms and associated production equipment. The USGS published in the Federal Register the intent to require an FMEA analysis for each new installation as well as major modifications to existing installations.
In 1972 the API formed the Offshore Safety & Anti-Pollution (OSAPE) committee to be a part of the API Standards Committee. The chairman of this committee was Larry Smith, Engineering Manager of Shell in New Orleans. One of the first jobs of the committee was to respond to the Federal Register notice. An OOC technical sub-committee, chaired by Ken Arnold, Offshore Division Mechanical Engineer for Shell, was tasked with studying the previous reports from NASA, GE and SWRI.
Ken presented a paper titled “A Systems Approach to Offshore Facilities Design” to the 1973 API Division of Production Annual Meeting in Denver. The techniques, as shown in Ken’s paper, were expanded by the OSAPE 14C Committee and were published in 1974 as API RP 14C. RP 14C has been updated periodically since 1974 and has been adopted in concept with minor revisions as an ISO International Standard.
Recognizing the pioneering efforts of the following individuals and organizations that pioneered the development of these regulations and associated practices:
Ken Arnold, Bob McConnell, Larry Smith, American Petroleum Institute, Shell