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Offshore Installations and Wells (Design and Construction, etc.) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1996

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Part IInterpretation and General

Citation and commencement

1.  These Regulations may be cited as the Offshore Installations and Wells (Design and Construction, etc.) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1996 and shall come into operation on 21st July 1996.


2.—(1) In these Regulations—

“the 1993 Regulations” means the Offshore Installations (Safety Case) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1993(1);

“the 1995 Regulations” means the Offshore Installations and Pipeline Works (Management and Administration) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1995(2);

“concession owner”, in relation to a well, means the person who at any time has the right to exploit or explore mineral resources in any area or to store gas in any area and to recover gas so stored if, at that time, the well is, or is to be, used in the exercise of that right;

“the Department” means the Department of Economic Development;

“duty holder”, in relation to an installation, means the person who is the duty holder as defined by regulation 2(1) of the 1995 Regulations in relation to that installation;

“environmental conditions” means—


meteorological and oceanographic conditions; and


properties and configuration of the sea-bed and subsoil;

“fixed installation” means an installation other than a mobile installation;

“installation” means an offshore installation within the meaning of regulation 3, except sub-paragraphs (a) and (b), and paragraph (ii) of sub-paragraph (c) of paragraph (3), of the 1995 Regulations;

“integrity” means structural soundness and strength, stability and, in the case of a floating installation, buoyancy insofar as they are relevant to the health and safety of persons;

“management system” means the organisation and arrangements established by a person for managing his undertaking;

“mobile installation” means an installation (other than a floating production platform) which can be moved from place to place without major dismantling or modification, whether or not it has its own motive power;

“safety case” means a document described in regulation 2(2) of the 1993 Regulations which is required to be prepared pursuant to a provision of those Regulations;

“stand-by vessel”, “territorial waters” and “vessel” have the same respective meanings as in regulation 2(1) of the 1995 Regulations;

“traffic route” means a route for pedestrians, vehicles or both and includes any stairs, staircase, fixed ladder, doorway, gateway, loading bay or ramp;

“well” means—


a well, made by drilling; and


a borehole drilled with a view to the extraction of minerals through it or another well,

and shall be deemed to include any device on it for containing the pressure in it;

“well intervention operation” means an operation in which a well is re-entered for a purpose other than to continue drilling or to maintain or repair it;

“well-operator”, in relation to a well, means the person appointed by the concession owner for a well to execute the function of organising and supervising all operations to be carried out by means of such well or, where no such person has been appointed, the concession owner;

“workover operation” means an operation in which a well is re-entered for the purpose of maintaining or repairing it; and

“workplace” means any workroom or other place on an installation used mainly for the performance of work, and does not include a traffic route.

(2) Any reference in these Regulations to operating an installation is a reference to using it for any of the purposes described in regulation 3(1) of the 1995 Regulations.

(3) Where a duty holder, in relation to an installation, or a well-operator, is succeeded by a new duty holder or well-operator, anything done in compliance with these Regulations by the former duty holder or operator in relation to the installation or the well shall, for the purpose of these Regulations, be treated as having been done by his successor.

(4) For the purposes of these Regulations, a person shall be deemed to be engaged in diving operations throughout any period from the time when he commences to prepare for diving until the time when—

(a)he is no longer subjected to raised pressure;

(b)he has normal inert gas partial pressure in his tissues; and

(c)if he entered the water, he has left it,

and diving operations include the activity of any person in connection with the health and safety of a person who is, or is deemed to be, engaged in diving operations.


3.—(1) Subject to paragraph (2), within territorial waters these Regulations shall apply to and in relation to—

(a)any installation and any activity on it;

(b)any activity, including diving operations, in connection with an installation, or any activity which is immediately preparatory thereto, whether carried on from the installation itself, on or from a vessel or in any other manner, other than—

(i)transporting, towing or navigating the installation; and

(ii)any activity on or from a vessel being used as a stand-by vessel;

(c)diving operations involving the survey and preparation of the sea bed for an installation; and

(d)a well and any activity in connection with it and an activity which is immediately preparatory to any such activity.

(2) Paragraph (1)(d) includes keeping a vessel on station for the purpose of working on a well but otherwise does not include navigation or an activity connected with navigation.

(3) These Regulations shall apply to a well in that part of Northern Ireland which does not comprise territorial waters, and activities in relation to it, only if—

(a)it is drilled from an installation; or

(b)it is drilled with a view to the extraction of petroleum.

(4) In paragraph (3) “petroleum” means any mineral oil or relative hydrocarbon and natural gas existing in its natural condition in strata, but does not include coal or bituminous shales or other stratified deposits from which oil can be extracted by destructive distillation.

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