There are going to be many more hoops to jump throught in the GoM

No big surprise that this is coming but I would like to know what the changes are going to be.

[U][B]Stronger Offshore Safety Rules Are Looming[/B][/U]

The government is poised to propose new rules that aim to boost the safety of offshore drilling and tighten standards for emergency equipment guarding subsea wells, a top regulator said Wednesday.

The looming rules will build on already broad changes that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement has imposed since last year’s Gulf oil spill, agency director Michael Bromwich said in a speech before the World National Oil Companies Congress in London.

For instance, regulators are planning to add teeth to a workplace safety rule they imposed last October requiring oil and gas companies to identify risks at every stage of offshore exploration and take steps to minimize human errors and operational hazards. [U][I]That rule for the first time is forcing companies in U.S. waters to have safety and environmental management systems like those required in the North Sea[/I]. [/U](emphasis mine)

The rules will require additional safety procedures, training programs and strengthened third-party auditing procedures, Bromwich said. The bureau is also readying new mandates for the blowout preventers, a last line of defense against un-expected oil and gas surges.

“Our goal will be a further set of enhancements that will increase drilling safety and diminish the risks of a major blowout,” Bromwich said. “It will address weaknesses and necessary improvements to blowout preventers, as well as many other issues.”

The regulations may include mandates governing the design of offshore wells and new standards for cement barriers.

For months, Bromwich has signaled that the new regulations are coming but insisted that they will go through a lengthy federal rule-making process, with time for public comment and guidance from interested stakeholders.

Industry leaders have complained about the shifting regulatory landscape since last year’s spill and insisted companies need more certainty to plan investments. Many industry representatives objected to the pace of changes

Knowing that the North Sea (especially Norwegian sector) has the most stringent regulations for drilling, then we’re in for a major change in how things are going to be done in the GoM. Not necessarily a bad thing so long as the new rules are realistic and can actually be implemented by rig management personnel. I guess we’ll have to wait and see what the brave new world will look like.

The emphasis on safety should be focused above the waterline not below, beginning with the Chain of command onboard these vessels. Shifting the overall oversight of the rigs into the hands of more educated, trained and licensed personnel would be the place to start. Then and only then, will you see a significant change the safety at sea.

[QUOTE=IPfreely;72033]The emphasis on safety should be focused above the waterline not below, beginning with the Chain of command onboard these vessels. Shifting the overall oversight of the rigs into the hands of more educated, trained and licensed personnel would be the place to start. Then and only then, will you see a significant change the safety at sea.[/QUOTE]

C’mon guys, you know what it means! They will put another Safety HSE guy on the rig from some other 3rd party company, someone who bothers the hell out of you every day, and that will be the extra stringent safety culture that is going to be imposed in the GOM, just another HSE guy on the rig, to bring the total up to about 20 now.

[QUOTE=c.captain;51717]No big surprise that this is coming but I would like to know what the changes are going to be.

Knowing that the North Sea (especially Norwegian sector) has the most stringent regulations for drilling, then we’re in for a major change in how things are going to be done in the GoM. Not necessarily a bad thing so long as the new rules are realistic and can actually be implemented by rig management personnel. I guess we’ll have to wait and see what the brave new world will look like.[/QUOTE]

To an extent - the North Sea has a specific Safety Case Regime (similar to the one here in Australia), which hasn’t taken root in the GoM. The idea was flirted proposed and flirted with post-Macondo, but a formal Safety Case Regime in the GoM was rejected for the time being.

That said, BSEE has had a significant amount of expansion in its powers and jurisdiction. Some of the more noteworthy ones are:

a.) Requiring facility operators to demonstrate a Safety and Environmental Management System, subject to review and audit by BSEE
b.) Expansion of BSEE powers to issue INCs to contractors, as well as the more traditional lease and facility operators
c.) Establishment of the imagintively named “Drilling Safety Rules” which set minimum standards for well construction e.g. two barriers in place at all times etc.
d.) In cooperation with API and IADC, formalise arrangements for Well Construction Interface Documents (WCIDs) which basically act as Safety Case Revisions / address all the location specific and third party provided risk controls for a particular well, location or drilling campaign.