Standard Update: Norsok M 501 edition 7

Marie Halliday

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Marie Halliday

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Marie Halliday is an internationally recognized expert in the coatings industry with a background in R&D, specification development & approval testing.

One of the most important standards for coatings testing in the oil and gas industry has undergone a major revision. Our coating testing expert explains the consequences for manufacturers and testing requirements.

What is NORSOK M-501?

NORSOK standards were originally developed by experts from the Norwegian petroleum industry and is now frequently used on a global basis for the qualification of materials used in anti-corrosive protection and fire protection systems for offshore. It is worth noting that IOGP S715, written by the International Association of Oil & Gas Producers (IOGP), is closely related to M-501 and essentially treated as an annex to NORSOK.

The NORSOK M-501 edition 7 was adopted in September 2022, and the English version published in November 2022 this supersedes edition 6 from 2012. The document specifies the requirements for the selection of coating materials, surface preparation, application procedures, and inspection for protective coatings to be applied during the construction and installation of offshore and coastal facilities and gives guidelines with respect to later maintenance work.

What are the principal changes of edition 7?

The standard has undergone quite an extensive revision. Some of the main changes include an update of the technical content based on experience, new pre-qualification requirements for additional coating categories, and the introduction of new systems to cover service areas. Key Items now added or covered are:

  • Coating systems now being divided into a number of sub-systems based on operating conditions, substrate materials, etc. These are captured in coating system data sheets (CSDSs) that are now included within the document
  • New service areas are now included to detail coating schemes for 
      - Cryogenic service
      - High-temperature service
      - Powder Coatings
      - Passive fire protection in the splash zone
  • New content includes additional sections covering coating repairs, quality management, and performance assurance, as well as coating selection tables.
  • The passive fire protection section has been updated extensively and now includes new normative annexes to cover water uptake, immersion freeze-dry and fire testing.
  • Implementation of new informative annexes to cover test panel for coating procedure tests (CPTs), coating operator qualification test, overlapping zones, maintenance coating, and new separate coating system data sheets.

Each CSDS outlines the relevant operational conditions, applicable substrate material quality, surface preparation requirements, generic coating system build up, etc. In addition, it gives cross-references to any pre-qualification requirements and to all test and inspection activities to be carried out.

What does M-501edition 7 mean for manufacturers?

Manufacturers need to be aware of the changes and identify how it will affect their system’s suitability or qualification to the new edition. Whilst certain systems listed in NORSOK M-501 already required pre-qualification testing, under the previous revision, a significant number of new categories have now been included, that now also require pre-qualification.

As mentioned earlier one of the major changes for manufacturers is to PFP (passive fire protection systems), particularly relating to environmental weathering where there is an increased requirement for more intensive testing to qualify. 

There are also other areas where manufacturers would previously have carried out the testing internally which will now require the use of an independent test house that has the relevant accreditations.  

How can Element support?

Element can provide all the necessary pre-qualification testing to verify materials’ performance in accordance with the new revision of NORSOK M-501. With extensive additional capacity now available at the ISO 17025 accredited Amsterdam laboratory, in addition to other Element facilities globally, Element’s depth of knowledge and experience can assist in not only providing testing services but also consultation packages to support customers in preparing test programs to fulfil the new requirements.

For more information on preparing or qualifying your products for NORSOK M-501 edition 7, please contact us today.

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