BSEE uses risk-based inspection program
The federal Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement has reported on the results of a new risk-based inspection program that the agency has been operating over the past year. The program supplements the normal schedule of field inspections of offshore oil and gas production facilities by carrying out additional inspections of operations that appear to present especially high risk. The concept is to be more proactive in identifying risky situations before some incident occurs, BSEE says.
“Implementing a risk-based inspection protocol is a move toward safer and smarter management of oil and gas operations on the outer continental shelf,” said BSEE risk-based inspections program lead Jason Mathews. “The program allows BSEE to direct additional inspection resources to relatively higher risk/higher consequence facilities, to better protect workers and the environment.”
BSEE started piloting the new inspection program in 2015. However, after a hiatus in the program startup and some subsequent criticism from the Government Accountability Office, in June 2017 BSEE Director Scott Angelle directed the agency to move ahead with the implementation. Following a couple of pilot runs of the program and the completion of a data review, the program went into operation in May 2018.
Seeking trendsUnder the program, BSEE staff review compliance and incident data monthly, seeking trends in this data. The reviews, together with an analysis of key performance factors, enable the identification of risk factors that deserve particular attention and that may warrant risk-based inspections.
In 2018, 82 risk-based inspections were conducted; 30 to 40 further inspections are now being planned, BSEE says. As a consequence of carrying out the inspections, BSEE issued two safety alerts with 19 recommendations, requiring operators to enact corrective action plans. One particular area of concern identified in 2018 was the condition of some high-pressure vessels on offshore platforms. A previous concern had been risks associated with cranes and lifting equipment.
“We are looking beyond regulation to improve the way that safe and responsible offshore exploration, development and production are conducted on the outer continental shelf,” Angelle said. “BSEE is incorporating technology, directed data collection and data analysis into our programs, and our decision-making process, as part of the continuing effort to make operations safer and smarter.”