BSEE Sustains Safety and Environmental Protection

WASHINGTON – The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) is proposing to update regulations covering offshore oil and gas drilling operations to improve reliability, safety, efficiency, and environmental stewardship, and reduce unnecessary burdens on operators.

BSEE reviewed the existing regulations in response to Executive and Secretary’s Orders instructing it to identify ways to reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens while ensuring that offshore oil and gas drilling operations are conducted in a safe and environmentally responsible manner.

The Proposed Blowout Preventer Systems and Well Control Rule was submitted to the Federal Register Friday, April 27, 2018, for publication next week to open the 60-day public comment period.

BSEE’s team of career engineers and regulatory specialists reviewed the rule over the past year and identified certain provisions that were overly burdensome, unclear, impractical, and have, through their implementation, required BSEE to repeatedly grant permission to utilize alternate procedures or equipment. The team also identified additional long-standing policies that could be incorporated into the regulations.

In keeping with the relevant Executive and Secretary’s Orders, BSEE carefully analyzed all 342 provisions of the 2016 Well Control Final Rule, and determined that 59 of those provisions – less than 18% of the 2016 Rule – were appropriate for proposed updating and revision.

The proposed revisions would amend the testing protocol for blowout preventers, modify capability requirements for remotely operated vehicles, remove duplicative verification requirements, and codify recent revisions to industry standards. Codification of a standard lends it the strength of an enforceable regulation.