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Policy Statement 533 - Offshore Facilities Development


Approved by the Energy, Environment, and Water Policy Committee on February 9, 2015
Approved by the Public Policy Committee on May 18, 2015
Adopted by the Board of Direction on July 18, 2015


The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) supports:

  • Sustainable protection, use and development of offshore resources.
  • Regulatory control of offshore regions.
  • Protection of public health, safety, and welfare and protection of the environment appropriately addressed for all offshore development.
  • Incorporation of scientific risk management in all aspects of sustainable offshore development.
  • Partnering among federal, state, and local governments to adopt offshore development policies.
  • Programs to consider offshore development that comply with these policies in a timely manner.


Public opposition to offshore development, as well as lengthy permitting and approval processes, may stop viable offshore projects from being considered or developed. The impact of hurricanes, natural and anthropogenic disasters, and emerging concern over climate change and its potential impact on ocean levels and coastal development reinforce the need for improved planning, practices, and regulations consistent with sustainable development of offshore resources. 

Offshore development projects are viable if the risk to public safety and the environment are adequately addressed through policies and standards addressing the planning, design, and construction of such developments. Delay in the approval of offshore projects that meet all policy and standard requirements could delay or eliminate valuable projects that may provide access to natural resources.


The design and operation of offshore facilities such as water supply, transportation and energy structures, drainage facilities and pipelines are important contributions to national economic development. At the same time offshore development must be properly planned, designed, constructed and operated to ensure public safety, health and welfare are protected, and to ensure the environmental impacts are mitigated and hazards inherent in offshore development are addressed.  There is a continuing need for adequate and protective policies and standards for offshore facilities development. Offshore projects that meet such standards should be approved in a timely manner.

ASCE Policy Statement 533
First Approved 2010