Can modified containers be used offshore? The simple answer is yes. The more complicated answer is yes, but...

Anyone involved in offshore oil and gas industries knows that the safety and risk regulations for offshore accommodations are complex and needed. The regulations are needed to reduce the risk to your valuable human resources but they are complex because of the diversity of oversight organizations and living environments. 

1. Know Your Government

In the United States, the US Coast Guard's offshore regulations govern the use of modified containers in all ocean habitats within the United States' Exclusive Economic Zone. This post is going to look more in depth at both industry standards (DNV GL) and US standards. If you are looking at the regulations for a different country, search for the agency in charge of that country's exclusive economic zone. 

2. Understand Your Purpose

Shipping containers can be modified for nearly any purpose. From residential modules to specialized workstations, the limits of an offshore modification are determined by the purpose you need the containers for. A 14-container project with space for laundry, offices, sleeping quarters and more will require different safety standards and meet different construction regulations than a simple office space on a remote rig. 

3. Mitigate Risk

The goal of oil and gas regulations in general and offshore containers specifically is to reduce risks to the people working on a rig, the environment we live in, and to your infrastructure and product. When considering what types of modifications to install in portable containers and how to place them on a rig, risk reduction should be a primary focal point. 

Although meeting the regulatory standards is a good way to reduce the risk, consider your unique risk profiles for each job. Residential units carry unique risks because exhausted employees turning in for the night are at their most vulnerable. On the other hand, an automated platform that does not have workers living on it will carry its own risks because of its remote location and exposure. 

4. Consider Your Purchase

Before you modify a shipping container, you have to have a shipping container. At the risk of overstating the obvious, this is an important point because people often sell shipping containers that do not meet the DNV Quality standards for offshore use. Since an offshore rig is exposed to the full effects of the earth's variety of climate conditions all year long, containers used on a rig have to meet a higher standard than a container used to store personal goods in the back of your house. 

DNV 2.7-1, DNV 2.7-2, and DNV 2.7-3 are all regulations that apply to different offshore shipping containers used for storage or in modified configurations as living and working environments. These regulations are internationally applied to the offshore oil and gas industry. Meeting the standard for your purpose of modification is a prerequisite for your purchase decision.

5. Shipping Regulations

Yes, modified shipping containers are possible. Yes, they have a ton of regulations, with good reason. Besides the national regulations for the location of the offshore rig and the oil and gas international standards for shipping containers, you have to follow shipping regulations as well. The American Bureau of Shipping (ABS)  produces regulations regarding "hydrocarbon production facilities that are being considered for Classification and for maintenance of Classification."

6. Facility Type

How you modify your shipping containers depends on the offshore facility. Bottom-founded oil rigs may have more sturdy construction mounted within and on top of the structure. Floating facilities often have space for stacked shipping containers. A drilling platform has different needs than an exploratory ship. If you understand the foundation you are building your shipping containers on, you are able to make a decision regarding how to modify them. 

7. Structural Modifications

Typical structural modifications to a shipping container include personnel doors, windows, and electrical or HVAC units. These structural modifications change a shipping container from a mere container to a workspace or living space. Rather than using a cargo-centered storage unit, structural modifications turn shipping containers into versatile systems for building and managing your oil and gas fleet and offshore facilities.

8. Utilitarian Modifications

Without changing the structure of a shipping container, you may add significant modifications to the interior in order to change the use of the shipping container. From built in furniture to plumbing or electrical systems, interior modifications transform shipping containers into useful modular construction units. With the right regulations covered and an understanding of your foundations to build on, container modification becomes the basis for efficient and affordable offshore operations. 

9. How Fast is the Turnaround Time?

When you are looking at a modification and construction project, you need to consider your installation and service provider. Modified shipping containers are used because of their portable nature and the fact that you can remove them from the rig to replace them or bring them into port for service. Since portability is such a key part of why businesses use modified shipping containers on offshore oil and gas rigs, you need to consider the turnaround time of any project management team who is going to modify or service your modified shipping containers. 

10. Finding the Right Partner

Besides having someone who can quickly build the modifications you need, your container modification specialists need to understand both global and national processes for building a modular offshore system. Your partner needs to have service facilities located in a port near where the offshore facilities are, and a depth of experience in modular construction, container modification, and servicing the global offshore oil and gas industry. 

Armoda understands and implements compliant shipping container modifications, serves a global clientele, and with our service centers in Houston and Louisiana, we are ideally situated to help any oil and gas companies in the Western Hemisphere in general and the eastern American seaboard in particular. For more information about the types of modifications we do, the construction projects we have done in the past, and pricing, please contact us today.