American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) News ABS News ABS Chairs Industry Group on FRP Composites in Offshore


ABS Chairs Industry Group Addressing the Expanded Use of FRP Composites in Offshore Oil and Gas Projects

Posted on Jun 19, 2019



The Energy Industry recognizes that the increased use of fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) composites in offshore projects will help address the industry demands to reduce weight, control corrosion, increase the asset life, lower the total cost of ownership, and improve structural integrity and reliability.

The primary goals of the Industry Group are to promote extended use of existing proven FRP products (such as piping and grating) into new applications and locations and the adoption of other FRP products (such as pressure vessels, handrails and tertiary structures).

New guidance, rules and regulations are needed for applications and services to allow the use of FRP products to increase. ABS recently hosted subject matter experts from operators, EPC contractors and manufacturing in an ongoing workshop aimed at defining the functional and performance requirements for FRP composite handrails in fire integrity applications on offshore units. This was accomplished using the example of the NOV Fiber Glass Systems’  Bondstrand™ range of FRP composites – MARRS™ offshore handrail.



The use of FRP composite handrails in fire sensitive areas has previously been restricted due to non-suitable materials and lack of specifications to conduct testing.

The workshop focused on possible solutions to identify acceptable criteria for testing FRP composite materials. Through the application of the ABS New Technology Qualification methodology, the project is intended to qualify the use of new composite material in handrails that will maintain an equivalent level of safety while minimizing weight and maintenance for owners and operators.

Other elements such as the expanded use of piping, pressure vessels, tanks, light poles, cage ladders, cable trays, gratings, and access structures will also be considered in the future.

Hosting industry workshops such as these illustrate ABS’s ongoing commitment to address industry challenges with technologies that support safer offshore operations.