BSEE Issues Final Rule on Drilling Safety

The new rule requires independent, third-party verification of blind shear rams' capability and documentation for blowout preventer (BOP) inspections and maintenance, among other things.

The federal Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement issued a final drilling safety rule Aug. 15 that requires independent, third-party verification of blind shear rams' capability and documentation for blowout preventer (BOP) inspections and maintenance, among other things.

BSEE's announcement said this rule "makes final the important safety reforms put in place in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which significantly improved drilling safety by strengthening requirements for safety equipment, well control systems, and blowout prevention practices on offshore oil and gas operations, and which companies have effectively complied with for nearly two years," during which time nearly 750 drilling permits have been issued for Gulf of Mexico waters.

"The administration's priority is continuing to expand offshore oil and gas development while ensuring that drilling operations in our oceans continue to be the safest in the world," said BSEE Director Jim Watson.

BSEE is among five federal agencies that will participate in a Sept. 20-21 stakeholder meeting to discuss safety and environmental protection as they relate to the U.S. oil and gas industry, both offshore and on land. Its representatives and those from OSHA, the U.S. Coast Guard, EPA, and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration will be discussing the use and implementation of performance-based regulatory models.

OSHA's announcement said the event's speakers will discuss the current regulatory landscape and the challenges and benefits of non-prescriptive, outcome-based approaches to reduce the frequency and severity of harmful events. The meeting will take place at the College of the Mainland's Learning Resource Center, with expert presentations and an opportunity for public comments coming on the second day.

The meeting will be webcast, and comments may be submitted in writing.

Anyone interested in attending must register by Sept. 5 by visiting https://primis.phmsa.dot.gov/meetings/mtghome.mtg?mtg=79.

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