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BSEE Rule Seeks to Implement Best Practices, Update Production Safety

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BSEE Rule Seeks to Implement Best Practices, Update Production Safety

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) will publish in the Federal Register Thursday a proposed rule intended to implement best practices and updates regulations regarding production safety systems and equipment used to collect and treat oil and gas from offshore production facilities.

The proposed rule would revise 30 CFR 250 subpart H., Oil and Gas Production Safety Systems, which has not been updated since it was first published in 1988, BSEE said in an Aug. 21 press release.

The update will address recent technological advances, including the industry’s use of subsea trees and other technologies that have evolved or become more commonly used offshore since the rule was initially published.

These devices and materials include:

  • Foam firefighting systems
  • Electronic-based emergency shutdown systems
  • Subsea pumping
  • Waterflooding and gas lift
  • New alloys and equipment for high temperature and high pressure wells

“The commonsense changes we are proposing, which will address issues such as production safety systems, subsurface safety devices and safety device testing, will help regulations keep pace with changing technologies that have enabled the industry to explore and develop resources in deeper waters,” said BSEE Director Jim Watson in an Aug. 21 press release. “The rule also implements best practices currently being deployed by industry leaders as we continue to strive for safety at all levels, at all times.”

“Our guiding focus throughout the development of this proposed rule has been and will continue to be worker safety and protecting the marine and coastal ecosystems by helping to reduce the number of production incidents resulting in oil spills, injuries and fatalities,” Watson commented.

Public comments can be submitted on the rule from Aug. 22 through Oct. 21.

During his time as director, Watson – who will step down as director early next month to take over as president and chief operating officer of marine classification society ABS – has overseen the implementation of more stringent offshore safety rules in response to the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon incident. In April, BSEE completed the Safety and Environmental Management Systems II final rule to enhance the original SEMS rule issued in October 2010.

Karen Boman has more than 10 years of experience covering the upstream oil and gas sector. Email Karen at


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