The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) has launched a pilot Risk-Based Inspection Program in an effort to improve its focus on offshore oil and gas facilities that exhibit a number of distinguishing risk factors.
According to BSEE, the new program will complement its existing inspections and audits to increase the safety of offshore oil and gas operations.
“By focusing on facilities based upon their risk factors, BSEE can more efficiently and effectively manage limited inspection and audit resources,” explained BSEE Director Brian Salerno. “Risk factors include design, operating and environmental characteristics of the facility, which may correlate to a greater likelihood of experiencing an incident. However, it does not mean that the facility has a bad safety record or is a poor safety performer, only that certain risk factors are present that must be managed.”
The pilot program will use a systematic approach relying on both a quantitative model and qualitative performance and risk-related data. It will be conducted in addition to BSEE’s current inspections and audits. These include inspections of production facilities, rigs and drilling operations under BSEE’s National Inspection Program, as well as Safety and Environmental Management Systems (SEMS) audits.
BSEE will use performance and compliance data collected from the annual inspections and SEMS audits, as well as incident investigations and other reportable safety information to help identify offshore production facilities with a higher risk profile. In addition, factors such as the size of the facility and the production of hydrogen sulfide are considered in developing the risk profile.
Operators of facilities selected for participation in this pilot program will be notified in the coming weeks. BSEE will identify five facilities using the model and then conduct focused inspections and reviews of the facilities with an inspection team.
“BSEE’s inspection teams will be focusing on several risk areas or operations,” stated Salerno. "We will be taking a deeper look into how operators implement and support their safety readiness programs."
Upon completion of each facility inspection and review, the BSEE team will discuss with the operator the areas needing attention or improvement. BSEE will then ask the operator to develop an action plan addressing the areas identified.