Six Noncompliance Notices Issued to Offshore Contractors in Early March

The federal Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said four contractors received the notices during the first two weeks of March for violating federal regulations.

Four contractors working offshore in the Gulf of Mexico have received Incident of Noncompliance (INC) notices so far this month after an inspector for the federal Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement found violations of federal regulations governing oil and gas operations, according to the agency's March 15 announcement. It said a total of six notices were issued to the four companies, including one issued March 8 to Alliance Oilfield Services, LLC, which operated a platform where a worker died in a fall, according to BSEE.

An inspector issues an INC to the operator and uses one of two main enforcement actions, a warning for a violation that is not severe or a shut- in for anything from a single component to the entire facility. A warning INC must be corrected within a reasonable amount of time specified on it. With a shut-in INC, the violation must be corrected before the operator is allowed to continue the activity in question. BSEE also can assess a civil penalty of up to $40,000 per violation per day if the operator fails to correct the violation in the reasonable amount of time specified or the violation resulted in a threat of serious harm or damage to human life or the environment. The four contractors that received INCs in early March have 60 days to appeal, and the cases will be reviewed for possible civil penalty assessment, according to the announcement.

BSEE's first use of INCs to a contractor occurred in October 2011, when Transocean and Halliburton received INCs related to the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill.

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