Cylindrical shells, unstiffened or stiffened with rings and/or stringers, are commonly used in offshore structures as main loading-carrying members. Comprehensive theoretical work and experimental studies on the buckling behavior of cylindrical shells have been carried out in the past. The increasing offshore application of stiffened cylindrical shells has raised some new challenges that need to be addressed. This paper provides the fundamental principles and technical background of the ABS buckling strength assessment criteria for cylindrical shells applied in offshore structures. The accuracy of ABS buckling criteria for assessing the cylindrical shells is established by benchmarking the results against an extensive database of test results assembled by American Bureau of Shipping. The results are also compared against current recognized offshore standards, such as API Bulletins 2U and DnV CN30.1. It is demonstrated that the ABS criteria provide very effective and sufficiently accurate predictions for the cylindrical shell buckling calculations.