Gas Release Hazards Identified in Gulf of Mexico

The federal Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement has released a Safety Alert about gas hazards on production platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.

The alert highlights findings of BSEE’s Gulf of Mexico-wide inspection effort under its Performance-Based Risk Inspection pilot, along with recommendations that operators develop and implement daily and weekly inspection protocols to check for common gas release hazards based on incident data.

Thirty-one gas release incidents were reported to BSEE by fourteen unique operators. The bureau issued thirty-six gas release incidents of non-compliance during the same timeframe.

BSEE inspectors used hand-held gas detectors, thermal cameras, and infrared thermometers to conduct the gas release inspections.

The inspection blitz showed that 17 percent of the facilities had documented oil or gas accumulation and 22 percent “had a non-operable gas detector, no process implemented for calibrating devices, failed a bump test, or had no documentation on the frequency and/or results of inspections.”

BSEE acted following a 2016 review of its oversight of offshore oil and gas operations by the Government Accountability Office, which found that BSEE had been unsuccessful in implementing a risk-based inspection component as part of its inspection program.

New BSEE Director Scott Angelle instructed Gulf of Mexico regional staff to complete the pilot with the goal that risk-based inspections implementation would become a reality in 2018.