The paper addresses safety and reliability issues for platforms where an unmanning strategy is premised.

The standard NORSOK N-006 recommends how to deal with the specific aspects that engineers meet when assessing existing structures, including life extension. A possible mitigating measure for structures that do not meet today’s structural requirements for environmental loads is to unman the platform during storms. The basis for the unmanning criteria in this standard is that the safety for personnel on a platform that needs to be unmanned during storms is consistent with the safety for personnel on platforms that satisfy structural requirements for manned platforms.

The prevailing metocean conditions at a North Sea location is modeled by a storm statistics approach. The capacity waves according to the codes checks are calculated for a jacket structure and the limiting metocean conditions that comply with the acceptance criterion are established. The expected frequency of unmanning events is determined, and the issue of forecast uncertainty discussed.

The annual maximum wave height distribution for the location is compared with the corresponding distribution that applies when the platform is manned, i.e. for metocean conditions that do not trigger unmanning. The probability of failure for important limit states is calculated on condition that no unmanning is required, and for a platform that satisfies the requirements for manned platforms. The most likely realizations of sea state variables and extreme wave cycle are determined for the different cases.

Parts of the structure may be loaded into the non-linear range and consequently the load-carrying resistance of the structure against future load cycles may be reduced. In such cases it is required to carry out a check of the cyclic capacity of the structure. The statistics for the second highest wave during storm conditions is investigated for unmanning scenarios and for a platform that satisfies the requirements for manned platforms.

It is normally acknowledged that the structural failure probability associated with normal statistical variations is considerably less than the failures that are due to gross errors. The difference in risk due to gross errors between platforms that are operated as unmanned during storms compared to the gross error risk level for manned platforms is discussed.

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