Objectives of standardization

The purpose of standardization is to provide reference documents.

The aim of standardization is to seek and to find together, with mutual respect and in acceptable economic conditions, a satisfactory solution to the technical and organisational problems addressed by the standard.

The role of the Standard is to:

  • Rationalise production
  • Clarify transactions
  • Encourage innovation and product development
  • Allow transfer of new technologies, make a strategic choice for the company
  • Ensure progress for the individual and the community
  • Serve political and economic power
  • Interact and communicate

Why standardize?

Standardization optimises investments and operational costs by making the standard an essential tool for international development:

Standardization and Operational Safety:

Interoperability of equipment and systems: conclusions

A major incident involving multiple deaths or large-scale pollution has consequences that are measured not only in monetary terms but in terms of ethics, the company’s survival, and preserving the “licence to operate”.

  • These incidents can occur due to the absence of standards, inadequate standards, inconsistent standards or poor communication between standards of different origins on the same subject.

  • These incidents, which are fortunately rare, nevertheless occur (Anacortes Refinery, Macondo platform in the Gulf of Mexico leading to extensive pollution, both in the USA in 2010).

Standardization and Operational Safety: interoperability of equipment and systems: approach  

  • In terms of human safety, environmental protection, and the preservation of industrial assets, a single set of international standards is not merely a tool, but a duty.

  • This provides the industry the interoperability of equipment (compatibility at the suppliers’ supply boundary) and systems (uniform management processes) without having to go through “bridging documents” which may lead to misinterpretation, delay in the implementation of instructions, and diminished responsiveness to any incidents.

Standardization and geographical harmonisation of operating practices

  • The area of intervention for a large industrial company goes beyond the country or region to cover the whole world; major oil companies operate in more than 100 countries.
  • Standardization helps contain the costs of equipment and logistics used to carry out this activity (drilling rigs, platform installation equipment, laying of onshore and offshore pipelines, the cost of which can reach $1,000,000/day) by making them usable and familiar to the operating personnel in all these countries.
  • Standardization also helps to recover the costs of developing products placed on the market, and thus reduce their prices, by making them compatible with the local requirements in different countries, especially if regulators are associated in the standardization.

Standardization, a tool for disseminating innovation and best practices:

The principles

  • Standards, which are under constant change (an international standard shall be revised every 5 years maximum) promote the dissemination of innovation and “best practices” as widely as possible: they raise the overall level of products and services available on the market.
  • Standards do not freeze the state-of-the-art: a standard will be at least a springboard to advance the state-of-the-art, to “innovate” beyond the standard, before introducing the innovation into the standard.
  • The company that “rides on the wave of a standard” in its field will become the leader in its sector: “Creating standards equates to creating markets”.

 Standardization and asset competitiveness

  • The existence of international standards on major topics in the oil sector, in particular on all aspects relating to the safety of persons and property, which no tender can fail to mention, makes it possible to set a minimum level of requirements applicable to all and therefore to competitors as well.
  • This minimises the risk of service offerings that are objectively too low in quality but which could be attractive in their commercial aspects.
  • Standards are a competitive levelling tool that will particularly benefit companies offering quality services that consistently reach or exceed the levels set by the standards.

Standardization and benefits for internal reference systems

  • Every oil company has a more or less developed internal reference system (i.e. the company's in-house standards), which is generally significant in nature.
  • Internal documents are based on international standards.
  • The goal is to have a coherent, and if possible, a single body of quality standards (in fact, the ultimate goal is to have “a single standard for the industry on a given subject, applicable worldwide”).
  • Standardization makes it possible to incorporate as many technical requirements for a given company as possible through its participation in standards-setting,
  • This consequently minimises this company’s proprietary documents and therefore the costs of maintaining internal technical reference systems and possibly the cost of procuring materials and services!
  • An unintended consequence of streamlined internal reference systems based on international standards is to facilitate cultural fusion of the technical departments of two companies in the event of a merger/take-over.
  • Standardization makes integrating reference systems much easier and therefore eliminates “dogmatic blocks” on preferences or historical tradition more quickly.


Standardization: window to the world

  • The participation of experts in standardization work represents an extraordinary opportunity for networking, scouting, opening up to different technical, cultural and business approaches, which are highly instructive: this is called economic intelligence.
  • It is also a tool for the motivation and “recognition” of the experts involved, who have the satisfaction of participating in useful work, often in an international context, and benefit from an intellectually stimulating mutual enrichment.
  • Both these aspects can only be positive for the company, which thus increases its competitiveness and enhances its image.

In brief: The use of standards is:

  • In societal terms: a unique opportunity to reduce the risks to humans and the environment
  • In sociological terms: a major driver for the worldwide dissemination of technical and methodological advances
  • In terms of business: a powerful tool to reduce costs and increase global competitiveness
  • In technical terms: a deterrent to entropy generation... which means:
    • Rationalise production
    • Clarify transactions
    • Encourage innovation and product development
    • Allow the transfer of new technologies
    • Make a strategic choice for the company
    • Serve political and economic power