BSEE proposes OCS regulation changes
The federal Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement is proposing changes to regulations introduced by the Obama administration governing safety requirements for offshore oil production. Known as the Production Safety Systems Rule, the regulations were issued in 2016 in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. BSEE says that the proposed changes address provisions that create unnecessary burdens on operators. The regulation revisions will not lower the level of safety and environmental protection associated with offshore production, BSEE says.
The regulations relate to the design and use of systems such as well safety valves, pressure vessels and electrical systems for offshore facilities.
“I am confident that this revision of the Production Safety Systems Rule moves us forward toward meeting the administration’s goal of achieving energy dominance without sacrificing safety,” said BSEE Director Scott Angelle. “By reducing the regulatory burden on industry, we are encouraging increased domestic oil and gas production while maintaining a high bar for safety and environmental sustainability.”
BSEE estimates that the proposed regulation changes would reduce the cost of regulatory compliance by at least $228 million over 10 years for the offshore oil and gas industry.
“It’s time for a paradigm shift in the way we regulate the OCS,” Angelle said. “There was an assumption made previously that only more rules would increase safety, but ultimately it is not an either/or proposition. We can actually increase domestic energy production and increase safety and environmental protection.”
The public comment period for the proposed regulatory changes ends on Jan. 29.
BSEE has issued three other safety rules in response to Deepwater Horizon: a workplace safety rule, issued in April 2013; an OCS drilling rule, issued in April 2016; and an Arctic OCS drilling rule, issued in July 2016.
- ALAN BAILEY