MMS Publishes Revised Incident Reporting Requirements

The Department of the Interior's Minerals Management Service (MMS) today published a final rule in the Federal Register that revises requirements for reporting incidents associated with oil, natural gas and other mineral operations on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). The revised regulation requires reporting of incidents that result in less serious consequences but have the potential for more serious outcomes. This will provide MMS with more comprehensive information about the causes of incidents and about potential risks to human safety and the environment.

The final rule entitled "Oil and Gas and Sulphur Operations in the Outer Continental Shelf—Incident Reporting Requirements" revises regulations at 30 CFR Part 250 to clarify the Bureau's incident reporting requirements by providing more precise reporting definitions, thresholds, and timeframes. Theses clarifications will result in more consistent reporting by the operators that in turn will improve MMS's capability to identify incident trends and evaluate the safety and environmental performance of OCS operations.

"The MMS has a strong regulatory program focused on safe and clean operations and the offshore industry has worked hard to achieve their excellent safety record," said MMS Director Johnnie Burton. "MMS is committed to promoting further improvements by conducting improved analyses of incident information, sharing this information with the offshore industry, and working cooperatively with the industry to address safety and environmental concerns."

The revised regulations will also continue to require that operators, lessees, easement holders, pipeline right-of-way holders, and other permit holders report all serious accidents, any death or serious injury, and all fires, explosions, and blowouts.

This final rule becomes effective July 17, 2006.

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