The public has 45 additional days to file comments about the BSEE proposed rule affecting offshore oil and gas operations.

BSEE Extends Comment Period on Proposed Offshore Safety Systems Rule

Dec. 5 is the new deadline for public comments on the agency’s proposal to revise 30 CFR 250 subpart H, Oil and Gas Production Safety Systems, to address recent technological advances.

The federal Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement is allowing 45 more days for the public to submit comments about its proposed rule on offshore oil and natural gas production safety systems. The new deadline is Dec. 5, 2013.

The proposed rule will revise 30 CFR 250 subpart H, Oil and Gas Production Safety Systems, to address recent technological advances. This subpart hasn’t been significantly revised since it was first published in 1988. "During that period, industry's use of subsea trees (the assembly mounted on a well head used to control the flow of oil and gas) and other technologies have evolved or become more prevalent offshore. These devices and materials include foam firefighting systems; electronic-based emergency shutdown systems; subsea pumping, waterflooding, and gaslift; and new alloys and equipment for high temperature and high pressure wells," according to BSEE. "The proposed rule ensures that the regulations governing their use and maintenance are keeping pace with industry’s advancements and that they address these newer and emerging safety technologies."

The agency has prepared a fact sheet about the proposal that says more than 3,000 facilities on the Outer Continental Shelf currently are producing oil and gas. Among the changes BSEE wants to make are adding rigorous design and testing requirements for boarding shut down valves, the most critical component of the subsea system because they allow hydrocarbon flow to a facility to be stopped in an emergency; and adding new inspection and repair requirements for tube type heaters. They are used in the treatment process to help to separate water and oil. Failures involving them have caused several incidents in recent years, according to BSEE.

To submit a comment, visit www.regulations.gov and search for docket number BSEE-2012-0005.

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