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Policy Statement 533 - Offshore Facilities Development

Approved by the Energy, Environment, and Water Policy Committee on March 30, 2018
Approved by the Public Policy Committee on May 6, 2018
Adopted by the Board of Direction on July 13, 2018


The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) supports the design and operation of offshore facilities such as water supply, transportation and energy structures, and pipelines as important contributions to national economic development that are in accordance with:

  • 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 for all offshore development.
  • Incorporation of risk management in all aspects of sustainable offshore development to avoid catastrophic failure.
  • Partnering at all levels of government to adopt offshore development policies and planning guidelines.
  • Programs to consider offshore development that comply with these policies in a timely manner.


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 facilities. Public opposition to offshore facilities 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 manmade 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. 

Delay in the approval of offshore projects that meet all policy and standard requirements could hinder or eliminate valuable projects that may provide access to valuable natural resources.


Civil engineers play a critical role in mitigating the risks of offshore facilities development and in protecting public health, safety, welfare, and the environment by properly planning, designing, constructing, and operating these facilities. There is a continuing need for adequate and protective policies and standards for offshore facilities development. 

This policy has worldwide application
ASCE Policy Statement 533 
First Approved 2010