ABS and MMS to Collaborate

Monday, January 27, 2003
ABS has signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the U.S. Department of the Interior's Minerals Management Service (MMS) that establishes a formal framework for scientific and technical collaboration between the two organizations with respect to offshore oil and gas operations.

The agreement represents formal recognition by the MMS of the technical expertise of ABS in design review and survey of offshore facilities to verify compliance with applicable regulatory requirements. Under the MOA, ABS and the MMS will jointly support the development of appropriate technical standards as well as associated research targeted toward improving the safety, pollution prevention and operational efficiency of offshore oil and gas facilities.

This formal agreement is an outgrowth of the longstanding relationship between ABS and MMS. For example, ABS authored the technical requirements for the MMS Platform Verification Program in 1979. This applies to offshore oil and gas production and drilling platforms working on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf. Additionally, ABS has provided on-going counsel and guidance to both the MMS and the offshore industry through years of participation in joint industry programs and other activities aimed at helping the offshore community meet the many technical and safety challenges associated with deepwater developments. At a ceremony in Washington, D.C., today ABS President and Chief Operating Officer Robert D. Somerville and MMS Deputy Director Walter D. Cruickshank, Ph.D., signed the landmark memorandum.

"The missions of ABS and MMS are synonymous in that all our efforts are focused on improving safety of life at sea and protecting the natural environment," said Somerville. "This agreement with MMS will extend and formalize the good working relationship that has long existed between our two organizations and allow us to contribute more fully to the research and application of new standards that offer appropriate environmental protection and risk mitigation criteria for offshore exploration and production," he added.

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