Offshore oil and gas operations carry a high risk of explosions, which can be efficiently prevented in many cases. The two most used approaches for prevention are: (1) the “International Electrotechnical Commission System for Certification to Standards Relating to Equipment for Use in Explosive Atmospheres” (IECEx) and (2) European “Atmosphere Explosible” (ATEX) schemes. The main shortcoming for the IECEx scheme is in the fact that it does not cover nonelectrical equipment, while for the ATEX scheme, it is due to the allowed self-certification for a certain category of equipment in areas with a low probability of explosions, as well as the fact that it explicitly excludes mobile offshore drilling units from its scope. An advantage of the IECEx scheme is that it is prescribed by the US Coast Guard for protection against explosions on foreign mobile offshore drilling units, which intend to work on the US continental shelf but have never operated there before, with an additional requirement that the certificates should be obtained through a US-based Certified Body (ExCB). Therefore, to avoid bureaucratic obstacles and to be allowed to operate with minimized additional costs both in the US and the EU/EEA’s offshore jurisdictions (and very possibly worldwide), all mobile offshore drilling units should be certified preferably as required by the US Coast Guard.
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