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.
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 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.
Salerno to Take Helm at BSEE
Secretary Jewell Names Former USCG Vice Admiral Brian Salerno Director of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today named former Vice Admiral Brian Salerno as the Director of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), which provides federal oversight for oil and gas operations on the Outer Continental Shelf. Salerno, who retired from the U.S. Coast Guard last year as its Deputy Commandant for Operations, will assume his new position on August 26.
MarineNews INSIGHTS: James Watson, Director BSEE
James A. Watson IV, Director of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE). Interior Secretary Ken Salazar Named Rear Admiral James A. Watson IV as New Director of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) in November of 2011. BSEE was one of the two agencies to succeed the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) on Oct. 1, 2011. Admiral Watson began as BSEE Director on December 1, 2011, and will succeed Michael R. Bromwich. Previously, Watson was better known to maritime stakeholders as the U.S.
Maritime Pollution and Other Legislation Outlook 2012
It has been almost two years since the Deepwater Horizon incident occurred on April 20, 2010. As a result of this incident, although there have been many bills introduced in Congress to address issues raised by this incident, as well as numerous related hearings, Congress was unable to see the way clear to actually enact any pollution-related legislation, or for that matter any substantial maritime legislation in 2011. The following is a summary of the action taken by Congress last year and a perspective on such legislation for 2012.
BP Whistle-Blower Seeks Shutdown of Atlantis in Gulf of Mexico
BP Plc.’s Atlantis platform, its second-largest oil producer in the Gulf of Mexico, should be shut down until it’s proven to comply with U.S. safety and environmental laws, a lawyer for a whistle-blower told a judge. BP misled U.S. offshore regulators to win operating permits for its Atlantis platform, about 150 miles (240 kilometers) south of New Orleans, according to the whistle-blower. The facility produced an average of 60,000 barrels of oil daily last year and is capable of producing as much as 200,000 barrels a day, according to data on London-based BP’s website. “Atlantis is presently not fit for service under normal engineering standards,” David Perry, a lawyer for former BP contractor Kenneth Abbott, said at a hearing in federal court in Houston.
Offshore Oil Spills & A Culture of Complacency
The dictionary defines “complacency” as tranquil pleasure or self-satisfaction, especially when uncritical or unwarranted. Groups are prone to complacency when events occur as expected over an extended period of time. They let their guard down, assuming that events will continue to turn out as they have in the recent past. It is one of the most important jobs of leaders and managers to prevent their groups from falling into a culture of complacency. Otherwise, the group will be set up for failure, perhaps catastrophic.
Salazar Names RADM Watson BSEE Director
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today named Rear Admiral James A. Watson IV as the Director of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE). BSEE was one of the two agencies to succeed the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) on Oct. 1, 2011. Admiral Watson will begin as BSEE Director on December 1, 2011, and will succeed Michael R. Bromwich. Admiral Watson is currently the U.S. Coast Guard’s Director of Prevention Policy for Marine Safety, Security and Stewardship in Washington, D.C.
Deepwater Horizon Lingers
It has been more than 16 months since the Deepwater Horizon incident on April 20, 2010 which resulted in the deaths of 11 and injuries to 17 men working on the platform and the discharge of approximately five million barrels of oil. The well was finally capped on July 15, 2010 yet the Joint Coast Guard and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) Investigation final report (Joint Investigation) has not been completed and released to the public. In addition, Congress continues to wait until the final results are released to make its own assessment of what legislation should ultimately be enacted and the complex litigation will be with us for years.
BSEE Issues Guidance for Workplace Safety Rule
The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) today issued a Notice to Lessees (NTL) that provides further guidance on the previously issued Safety and Environmental Management System (SEMS) rule. The SEMS rule, also referred to as the Workplace Safety Rule, is designed to reduce the likelihood of accidents, injuries and spills that occur in connection with offshore oil and gas exploration and development activities on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). The NTL consolidates guidance and information to help operators comply with the requirements of the rule. Operators are required to implement a SEMS program by November 15, 2011.
Corporate Competance Key to Offshore Safety
Andy Woolgar of Subsea 7, President of the International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) raises the issue of elevating competence from the marine contracting sector’s offshore workplace to onshore and management personnel and ‘corporate’ competence in his President’s letter in the latest issue of IMCA’s quarterly newsletter ‘Making Waves’. “The standard components of qualifications, skills and experience that are demonstrated and assessed are harder to pin to a corporation,” he writes. “But being tough does not mean it should not be done.” As background to these thoughts, he explains that IMCA members work hard to deliver safe and efficient projects. “Much of IMCA’s delivery for members is in support of this aim. One aspect, competence, has increasing importance.
BOEMRE Announces Regulatory Authorities for New Agencies
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) today announced a final rule that separates the federal regulations that govern offshore energy and resource development between the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), effective October 1, 2011. The two bureaus will become operational on that date, completing the reorganization of the former Minerals Management Service (MMS). The organization of the regulations reflected in the final rule tracks the set of activities that will now be undertaken separately by BSEE and BOEM. “This is a critical step in our reorganization efforts,” said BOEMRE Director Michael R. Bromwich.
BOEMRE Holds Unannounced Spill Drill
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) announced today that the bureau has completed the first unannounced spill drill to test the new requirements of sub-sea containment capabilities for deepwater wells. Led by BOEMRE, the table-top drill, which took place last week, was a joint exercise with the U.S. Coast Guard, the State of Louisiana, and Petrobras America, Inc. The preliminary results of the drill were positive; a final evaluation will follow when analysis of all documentation is completed. “We are using many diverse methods, techniques and tools to ensure that oil and gas operations on the Outer Continental Shelf are being conducted in the safest and most environmentally-responsible manner,” said BOEMRE Director Michael R. Bromwich.
Secretary Salazar Appoints Bromwich, Beaudreau to Lead New DOI Bureaus
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar named current Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) Director Michael R. Bromwich to lead the newly formed Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) and current BOEMRE Senior Advisor Tommy P. Beaudreau to lead the newly formed Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM). Bromwich and Beaudreau have both been highly involved in the creation of the two new bureaus, as well as the Department’s efforts to strengthen the oversight of offshore oil and gas exploration and development. BSEE and BOEM will be officially established on Oct. 1, 2011. Bromwich has agreed to serve as the BSEE Director until a permanent director is selected.
Long Island Offshore Wind Project: $2.7 to $4.7B
The Long Island–New York City Offshore Wind Collaborative, consisting of Consolidated Edison Company of New York (Con Edison), the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), and the New York Power Authority (NYPA) filed a lease application with the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE). This application furthers Governor Cuomo’s clean energy agenda. Earlier this year, the Governor announced the latest awards under New York's Renewable Portfolio Standard program, providing contracts valued at $191 million to 17 renewable energy projects statewide.
Republic of the Marshall Islands Maritime Administrator Media Statement
"The Republic of the Marshall Islands acknowledges the Commandant's conclusions. The United States Coast Guard's report, with final Commandant action, reinforces many of the findings contained in the flag State’s report released previously," said Bill Gallagher, Senior Deputy Commissioner of Maritime Affairs. "The Marshall Islands looks forward to working closely with the United States and other member States at the International Maritime Organization to implement the lessons that can be learned from this casualty and improve maritime safety going forward," he concluded.
Deepwater Horizon Joint Investigation Team Releases Final Report
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE)/U.S. Coast Guard Joint Investigation Team (JIT) today released its final investigative report on the April 20, 2010, Deepwater Horizon explosion, loss of life, and resulting oil spill. The report is comprised of Volume I, covering the areas of investigation under the jurisdiction of the Coast Guard; Volume II, covering the areas of the investigation under BOEMRE jurisdiction; and a supplement to Volume I – the Final Action Memo from Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Bob Papp. The JIT was formed on April 27, 2010, by a convening order of the Departments of the Interior and Homeland Security to investigate the causes of the Deepwater Horizon explosion…
BOEMRE Holds Technical Permitting Workshop
Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) Director Michael R. Bromwich today announced that the bureau has developed and implemented several new tools to help offshore oil and gas operators improve their exploration and development plan and permit applications. These tools will allow offshore operators to better track their submissions and improve the quality and completeness of their applications, which will decrease processing delays. “We continue to meet with operators individually and in large groups on a frequent basis. We take very seriously requests for additional information and additional clarity regarding our plan and permit review process.
BOEMRE: Proposed Gulf of Mexico Oil and Gas Lease Sale
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) Director Michael R. Bromwich today announced that BOEMRE will hold the first oil and natural gas lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico since the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill. Consistent with steps President Obama announced in May 2011 to expand domestic oil and gas production safely and responsibly, the proposed Western Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 218 is scheduled to be held in New Orleans on December 14, 2011. The sale will include all available unleased areas in the Western Gulf Planning Area offshore Texas. “This sale is an important step toward a secure energy future that includes safe…
Statement from BOEMRE on Loss of Life
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) today confirmed that agency personnel responded on August 16 to a report of a fatality at Energy Resource Technology's High Island (HI) Block A557 Platform A. This is an oil and gas production platform approximately 75 miles offshore Texas, in about 224 feet of water. According to the operator's report, an incident occurred early on the morning of August 16 during a crane lift in which a large piece of equipment was being loaded from the platform to a workboat. An apparent failure of the boom hoist cable led to a collapse of the crane, which set off a series of events in which the crane's harness struck and fatally wounded an employee. There was no production ongoing at the time of the accident.
BOEMRE Funds Beach and Dune Restoration in Louisiana
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) has awarded two Coastal Impact Assistance Program (CIAP) grants totaling $481,978 to the state of Louisiana and Vermilion Parish, La. The grants will fund beach and dune restoration planning along the West Caminada Headland in Lafourche Parish, La., and a shoreline protection and marsh creation plan at Tiger Point in Vermilion Parish. Created by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, CIAP provides funding to the six Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) oil and gas producing states to conserve and protect the coastal environment. CIAP is an ongoing program with grant funding that is allocated based on the offshore energy revenues collected by the United States.
BOEMRE Completes Final Supplemental EIS for Western Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) released a Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for proposed oil and gas Lease Sale 218 in the Western Planning Area in the Gulf of Mexico. The SEIS updates the findings in several previously published environmental reviews covering the Gulf of Mexico. It also incorporates the latest available information pertaining to the Western Gulf of Mexico Planning Area following the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill. “The analysis contained in this Final SEIS incorporates new research and reflects broad public input on the environmental effects of oil and gas operations in the Gulf of Mexico,” said BOEMRE Director Michael R. Bromwich.