ISO Standards for the oil and gas sector increasingly adopted

International Organization for Standardization (ISO) international Standards for the oil and gas sector are being increasingly adopted by regional or national Standards bodies in North and South America, China, Europe, the Gulf states, Kazakhstan, and Russia, and increasingly being referenced in national regulations.

This progression is highlighted in the 2010 edition of the OGP Standards Bulletin, published by the Standards Committee of the International Association of Oil & Gas Producers (OGP) whose members in 80 countries produce more than half of the world's oil and about one-third of its gas.

The OGP strongly supports international Standards for the petroleum and natural gas industries and actively promotes the development and use of ISO international Standards, as well as those of its partner the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).

ISO Standards for the sector are primarily developed by ISO technical committee ISO/TC 67: 'Materials, equipment, and offshore structures for petroleum, petrochemical, and natural gas industries' in which hundreds of experts from 29 countries participate, with another 30 countries as observers. In 2009, 21 new or revised Standards were produced by ISO/TC 67 and 23 are planned for first publication or revision by the end of 2010. Currently, the TC's portfolio comprises 145 Standards, plus updates.

For industry, international Standards reduce costs and delivery times, and facilitate trade across borders by replacing the multiplicity of existing industry, regional, and national Standards, as well as specifications developed by individual companies.

An example cited by the OGP Standards Bulletin is the three-part ISO 21809 on pipeline coatings which, by providing a consistent and unified approach for implementation worldwide, replaces multiple existing specifications and so cuts costs and complications for the oil and gas sector.

For regulators, international Standards provide the technical basis for regulations, while achieving high levels of safety because these Standards are continually reviewed to maintain them at the state-of-the-art level. Standards play an important role in the technical definition of safety levels set by regulators for oil and gas installations.

The latest OGP Standards Bulletin reports that compared with a European survey in 1996, a new survey reveals a 'significant increase' from 16% to 38% in regulatory references to international Standards and 'a sharp decrease' from 39% to 14% in references to national Standards.

Related Standards

  • ISO 21809-2:2007 Petroleum and natural gas industries – External coatings for buried or submerged pipelines used in pipeline transportation systems – Part 2: Fusion-bonded epoxy coatings
  • ISO 21809-3:2008 Petroleum and natural gas industries – External coatings for buried or submerged pipelines used in pipeline transportation systems – Part 3: Field joint coatings
  • ISO 21809-4:2009 Petroleum and natural gas industries – External coatings for buried or submerged pipelines used in pipeline transportation systems– Part 4: Polyethylene coatings (2-layer PE)
  • ISO 21809-5:2010 Petroleum and natural gas industries – External coatings for buried or submerged pipelines used in pipeline transportation systems – Part 5 External concrete coatings

Published in energy.