White Paper: FPUs in the Digital Age

This paper offers insight into key technologies and solutions that integrate operational needs with digital insight to optimize efficiencies for offshore floating production units.

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ABS has been helping to enable safer offshore production since the earliest days of operations.

In 1975, we provided classification services for the offshore industry’s inaugural floating production system. Over the decades, ABS classed the first floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel in US waters, classed the industry’s first semisubmersible production unit, verified the first tension-leg platform (TLP) in the Gulf of Mexico, and classed the first production spar. Today, we are still the classification and verification authority for offshore production units.



ABS engineers and surveyors have the practical work experience and technical know-how to handle deepwater and ultra-deepwater projects, from offering risk and probabilitstic analyses of the safety, viability and practicality of FPI design, approval of risk-based inspection programs and verification of complex designs for subsea pipelines and risers supporting FPIs.

Working closely with the US Coast Guard (USCG) and Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), ABS has provided services for nearly all of the existing floating installations working in the Gulf of Mexico. We remain the only classification society authorized to act on behalf of the USCG to inspect and approve floating offshore design, construction, installation, and equipment for the US Outer Continental Shelf. ABS has also acted as Certified Verification Agent (CVA) for BSEE on the majority of the floating production units operating in the Gulf of Mexico.

Practical and Technical Experience

We have a strong presence worldwide with the following types of floating production units.

Converted and Newbuild FPSOs

ABS classed the first FPSO in US waters in 1978 and continues to develop proprietary tools for the site-specific evaluation of dynamic load components, hull strength and fatigue assessments.


ABS had decades of experience classing purpose-built and converted production semisubmersible platforms for deployment in deepwater fields.


ABS has been involved with TLP technology from the outset and has been instrumental in developing appropriate class standards. ABS has classed the full range of TLP designs.


ABS has been involved with classing three generations of spar design improvements, from classic or deep-draft caisson to truss spars and cell spars.

Pipelines & Risers

ABS verifies that pipelines, risers and umbilicals supporting FPIs are designed, fabricated and installed according to approved designs and sound industry practice.

Please contact me about Offshore Production classification and related services.

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