Vessel Safety: US House Subcommittee Seeks Faster Implementation
In November the U.S. House of Representatives’ Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee held a hearing on “Commercial and Passenger Vessel Safety: Challenges and Opportunities.” Testimony covered a range of issues, from recent tragedies such as the Conception dive-boat disaster to antiquated maritime laws.Hearing witness list:Rear Admiral Richard V. Timme, Assistant Commandant for Prevention Policy, United States Coast GuardThe Honorable Richard Balzano…
BSEE Director Brian Salerno Weighs in on Offshore Ops
Brian Salerno was sworn in as the Director of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) on August 26, 2013. He is responsible for promoting safety, protecting the environment and conserving resources through the vigorous regulatory oversight and enforcement of offshore operations on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf. Prior to his appointment as Bureau Director, Salerno served as the U.S. Coast Guard’s Deputy Commandant for Operations where he was responsible for establishing and providing operational strategy…
BSEE, USCG on Sharing Information, Jt Ops
Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) Director Brian Salerno and U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral Paul Thomas participated in a luncheon panel discussion today at the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston. The discussion focused on topics relevant to joint inspections of offshore facilities and other offshore regulatory issues. Center for Offshore Safety Executive Director Charlie Williams hosted and moderated the session on the final day of OTC. The Director…
BSEE, NASA to Examine Offshore Risks
The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) and The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) have announced a five-year agreement allowing BSEE to capitalize on the best risk management approaches from the aeronautics industry to inform stakeholders and further strengthen worker and environmental safety protections on the Outer Continental Shelf. “Both BSEE and NASA work in harsh and uncompromising environments, relying on cutting edge technology to go deeper and further than previously thought possible,” said BSEE Director Brian Salerno.
BSEE Panel to Probe Offshore Fatality
The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) continues its investigation into the March 10, 2016 death in the Gulf of Mexico of Roy Miller, a Nabors Drilling offshore worker. The fatal injury took place on the Nabors platform rig during maintenance activities for Whistler Energy LLC. "My heartfelt condolences go out to the family of Roy Miller," said BSEE Director Brian Salerno. "Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time. BSEE Gulf of Mexico Region Director Lars Herbst has formally established an Investigative Panel.
School Students Win Offshore Challenge Prize at UH
Today, a team of eight students from West Side High School in Houston emerged victorious from the first annual High School Offshore and Technology Stars Challenge, which was co-hosted by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) and the Ocean Energy Safety Institute (OESI) at the University of Houston. Other participating schools include Energy Institute High School, Charles H. Milby High School and Young Women’s Preparatory Academy. BSEE Director Brian Salerno welcomed the students to the Technology Challenge, with a strong message of encouragement for the young competitors.
BSEE to Perform Risk-based Inspections
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.
Seminar to Address Safety in the Arctic
North American Marine Environment Protection Association (NAMEPA) is set to present “Safety in the Arctic”, a seminar addressing topics of preparedness, prevention and protection specific to the Arctic waters. The event will take place at the Hotel Captain Cook on August 13, 2015 in Anchorage, Alaska. "On the eve of offshore drilling in the Arctic, NAMEPA is gathering the experts in the field to outline the safety measures being deployed in this effort to protect the marine environment," stated Clay Maitland, founding chairman of NAMEPA. In addition to Maitland, other scheduled speakers include U.S. Senator (Alaska) Lisa Murkowski; Rear Adm. Dan Abel, Commander D17-U.S. Coast Guard; Mead Treadwell, Pt Capital; Kara Moriarty, AOGA; C.
Shell Gets APD for limited Arctic Drilling
After extensive review and under a robust array of safety requirements, Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) Director Brian Salerno today announced that Shell has received conditional approval of two Applications for Permits to Drill (APD) to conduct limited exploratory drilling activities in the Chukchi Sea offshore Alaska. Specifically, the APDs limit Shell to drilling only the top sections of wells and prohibit Shell from drilling into oil-bearing zones. Shell currently is not permitted to drill into oil-bearing zones because…
BSEE Oversees Testing of Shell’s Arctic Equipment
Testing of Shell’s proposed Arctic-ready capping stack system was supervised this week by the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) in Puget Sound, BSEE Director Brian Salerno announced today. BSEE Alaska Region Director Mark Fesmire oversaw the testing to ensure compliance with Federal safety standards for oil and gas exploration on the Arctic Outer Continental Shelf. The capping stack, used to contain the flow of oil in the event that all primary and backup blowout prevention equipment fails during drilling…
BSEE Launches Efforts to Reduce Offshore Risk
Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) Director Brian Salerno made two announcements during a press conference in Houston Tuesday at the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) - each aimed at reducing the risks associated with offshore oil and gas operations. First, Director Salerno announced the launch of the SafeOCS program, an initiative aimed at collecting and analyzing “near miss” data. Second, he released BSEE’s first-ever Annual Report, which presents the agency’s analysis of offshore activities, trends, indicators, incidents and other key data points. Salerno said BSEE is working to identify methods to learn more about the causes of all serious offshore incidents.
BSEE Dir. Salerno to Address Offshore Technology Conference
Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) Director Brian Salerno will be traveling to Houston for the 2015 Offshore Technology Center May4-7 at NRG Park. The annual conference is an international gathering showcasing leading‐edge technology for offshore drilling, exploration, production, and environmental protection. Director Salerno will be discussing the bureau’s advancements in reducing risk offshore. 1:00 p.m. 7:30 a.m. 2:00 p.m. What: OTC Luncheon with the Center…
US Well Control Regulations Proposed
U.S. In response to the findings of investigations into the Deepwater Horizon tragedy, and following a thorough evaluation of recommendations from industry groups, equipment manufacturers, federal agencies, academia and environmental organizations, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced proposed regulations to better protect human lives and the environment from oil spills. The measures include more stringent design requirements and operational procedures for critical well control equipment used in offshore oil and gas operations.
US Proposes First Rules for Arctic Oil, Gas Drilling
The Obama administration on Friday proposed standards on exploratory drilling for oil and gas in U.S. Arctic waters that would add costs for energy companies but aim to protect against catastrophic spills. The rules, proposed by the Department of Interior, require for the first time that energy companies have access to equipment to contain potential well blowouts, such as rigs that can drill so-called relief wells. The companies would also need to ensure quick access to capping stacks and containment domes while drilling in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas off Alaska.
Obama Requests $204.7M Budget for BSEE
President Obama requested $204.7 million for the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) in fiscal year 2016 as part of an effort to enable the BSEE to keep pace with deepwater oil and gas development on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf. According to the BSEE's Office of Public Affairs, there were 69 deepwater rigs and non-rig units working in the Gulf of Mexico at the end of 2014, up from 40 at the start of the year. The Energy Information Administration forecasts offshore production will continue to grow through 2040, as large development projects, predominantly in the deepwater and ultra-deepwater areas of the Gulf of Mexico, are brought into production.
US, ATP-IP Reach Settlement over Unauthorized Oil Discharges
Under a settlement agreement with the United States, ATP Infrastructure Partners, LP (ATP-IP) will pay a $1 million civil penalty and perform corrective measures to resolve claims by the U.S. under the Clean Water Act and the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) of unauthorized discharges of oil and chemicals from an oil platform into the Gulf of Mexico, announced the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Justice, and the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE). This is the first joint judicial enforcement action involving EPA and BSEE claims in response to alleged violations of both the Clean Water Act and OCSLA. The United States’ complaint, which was filed in February 2013, in the U.S.
BSEE, Coast Guard Ink OCS Regulatory Agreement
Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) Director Brian Salerno and U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral Paul Thomas signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for regulating fixed Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) facilities. Through this agreement, both BSEE and the Coast Guard will review regulatory responsibilities for systems and subsystems on fixed OCS facilities and collaborate on joint training activities. This MOA was implemented in accordance with the November 27, 2012 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between BSEE and the Coast Guard.
BSEE Director Shares Insights at OTC Houston
"So we are here at OTC, surrounded by extraordinary displays of technology…showcasing capabilities that far exceed what was possible only a few short years ago, and underscoring the fact that the oil gas industry is one of the most innovative and complex on the planet. It is truly awe inspiring, and as a regulator, somewhat daunting to realize that this also poses a challenge for us (regulators). Your industry sets a very aggressive pace, you are the source of new ideas and technology.
Offshore Insights from OMSA's Ben Billings
Ben Billings serves as President & CEO of the Offshore Marine Service Association (OMSA), a nationwide trade association headquartered in New Orleans that represents more than 200 member companies. OMSA’s membership includes approximately 100 firms operating more than 1,200 vessels that provide transportation services to the offshore oil and gas industry in the Gulf of Mexico and around the world. It’s arguably a very good time to be at the helm of OMSA, with a resurgent U.S.
BSEE's Salerno Visits Arctic Challenger, USCG, ABS Leaders
On February 20 and 21, 2014 Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) Director Brian Salerno and BSEE Alaska Region Director Mark Fesmire traveled to Bellingham, Wash. to meet with senior leaders from the U.S. Coast Guard and the American Bureau of Shipping and see first-hand Shell's containment system aboard the Arctic Challenger. Director Salerno and Alaska Region Director Fesmire also visited with Coast Guard representatives at the Coast Guard's District headquarters in Seattle.
BSEE Cites 12 Operators for Neglecting SEMS Audits
Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) Director Brian Salerno cited 12 offshore operators for their failure to demonstrate compliance with the Safety and Environmental Management Systems (SEMS) requirements of the Workplace Safety Rule, 30 CFR Subpart S. The SEMS requirements were put in place in October 2010, following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Per the regulations, offshore operators were required to complete an initial SEMS audit by November 15, 2013. "An effective, fully implemented SEMS program is essential to reducing risks across offshore operations," said Director Salerno. “BSEE must be assured that companies are addressing the key elements of SEMS and that they are not needlessly putting their workers and the environment at risk. Beginning Nov.
Black Elk Failures behind Offshore Platform Explosion
The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) released its panel investigation report into the November 16, 2012 explosion and fire that occurred on a platform operated by Black Elk Energy Offshore Operations. The explosion and fire resulted in the tragic deaths of Ellroy Corporal, Jerome Malagapo and Avelino Tajonera, serious injuries to others and the discharge of pollutants into the Gulf of Mexico. The investigation panel, comprised of professionals from BSEE and the United States Coast Guard…
BSEE's Ohmsett Facility Receives US$4-Million Grant
The funds allocated to BSEE will provide for infrastructure resiliency improvements at the bureau's national oil spill response research and renewable energy test facility, Ohmsett, located at Naval Weapons Station Earl in Leonardo, N.J. The Ohmsett facility includes the nation’s largest saltwater tank used for testing oil removal technologies, providing unique research and applied training capabilities. After Hurricane Sandy, BSEE quickly worked to complete a thorough damage assessment of the facility and complete necessary repairs in order to return it to operational status.