ASCE has honored Jinbo Chen, Ph.D., P.E., M.ASCE; Robert B. Gilbert, Ph.D., P.E., D.GE, M.ASCE, NAE; Albert P. Ku, Ph.D.; Jiun-Yih Chen, Ph.D., P.E., M.ASCE, and Peter W. Marshall, P.E., F.ASCE,with the 2021 J. James R. Croes Medal for their paper “Calibration of Model Uncertainties for Fixed Steel Offshore Platforms Based on Observed Performance in Gulf of Mexico Hurricanes,” Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, June 2020.     

Chen is a geotechnical engineer at Shell Global Solutions, Houston; Gilbert is the Brunswick-Abernathy Professor at the University of Texas at Austin; Ku is principal engineer at DNV in Katy, Texas; Jiun-Yih Chen is senior consultant at Golder Associates Inc. in Houston; and Marshall is a consultant in Campbell, California.

The paper explores the appropriateness of and implicit bias in the American Petroleum Institute (API) design guidelines for fixed offshore platforms. The significance of this work includes the following:

  • It demonstrates the importance of the integration of a multidisciplinary collaboration in adequately assessing the safety margin and design practice for fixed offshore platforms – that is, a holistic system performance view by assessing the loads (metocean engineering), superstructure (structural engineering), and foundation (geotechnical engineering) together.
  • It has provided the key load and resistance statistics for developing the newest load and resistance factor design guideline for fixed offshore platforms, API RP2A-LRFD 2nd  edition (2019): Recommended Practice for Planning, Designing, and Constructing Fixed Offshore Platforms–Load and Resistance Factor Design, 2019.
  • It provides guidelines and essential inputs for assessing the reliability of existing structures, which helps regulators and operators’ decision-making about extending design lives and retrofitting structures to balance the safety and cost.
  • It is motivating and guiding efforts to improve design practice by updating the methods used to predict lateral pile capacity and axial pile capacity in sand. Both of these issues are now addressed in draft API/ISO documents.
  • It has motivated the introduction of an offshore platform system design (both jacket superstructures and the pile foundation systems) in addition to component check in the design of new offshore structures, and has shown the historical component-based design leads to pile foundations being less likely to fail than superstructures in a hurricane.

The J. James R. Croes Medal is presented to the author or authors of a paper that is judged worthy of the award and to be next in order of merit to the paper to which the Norman Medal is awarded.