ABS Signs MOU With Gosgortechnadzor of the Azerbaijan Republic

Wednesday, August 13, 2003
ABS has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with The State Mining Safety Committee, Gosgortechnadzor (GGTN), of the Azerbaijan Republic establishing a formal framework for technical collaboration between the two organizations with respect to offshore oil and gas operations. The MOU recognizes ABS classification and certification services for offshore oil and gas facilities in the Azerbaijan sector of the Caspian Sea and establishes compliance with the relevant Rules and Guides of ABS. This includes plan review and survey work by ABS plus establishes a streamlined process of alternative compliance with internationally recognized standards as permitted under the Azeri Technical Safety Law. The MOU was signed shortly after a successful pilot program by ABS and GGTN on a major offshore project in Azerbaijan. “This formal recognition of ABS technical expertise by the Azerbaijan Republic is a major step forward for us in working with the government and our clients on offshore projects in the oil and gas rich Caspian Sea in northwest Asia,” says Antonio Lino Costa, President and Chief Operating Officer, ABS Europe. GGTN is the State Committee responsible for enforcement of the Azeri Technical Safety Law applicable to all sectors of the onshore and offshore oil and gas industry in the Azerbaijan Republic. GGTN encompasses within its jurisdiction the responsibility of the “Coastal State Authority” similar to the NPD in Norway, HSE in UK and MMS in the US. GGTN covers offshore operations concerns in the Azeri sector of the Caspian. A noteworthy feature of the MOU is the provision for ABS to consider alternative arrangements and structures, which can be shown, through either satisfactory service experience or systematic analysis based on sound engineering principles, to meet the overall safety and strength standards of ABS Rules and Guides or other internationally recognized standards. This is a powerful tool for accommodating the desire of clients to apply direct engineering principals and service experience in lieu of prescriptive methods, as long as equivalency to internationally recognized standards is established. This formal agreement is an outgrowth of a well-established relationship between ABS and GGTN of the Azerbaijan Republic. ABS is the market share leader in offshore classification worldwide and recently provided new-build class services for the most technologically advanced semi-submersible drilling rig located in the Caspian Sea. “The missions of ABS and GGTN are synonymous in that we are both focused on improving safety of life at sea and protecting the natural environment by setting standards,” says Lino Costa. “This agreement between our two organizations offers further appropriate environmental protection and risk mitigation for offshore exploration and production in the Azerbaijan sector of the Caspian Sea.”

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