API: Significant Enhancements to Offshore Safety Made Post-Macondo

API: Significant Enhancements to Offshore Safety Made Post-Macondo

The evaluation of offshore exploration and production practices by the U.S. oil and gas industry following the April 2010 Macondo oil spill has led to significant enhancements to offshore safety oversight and underlines the industry's commitment to offshore safety, said Erik Milito, group director for upstream and industry of the American Petroleum Institute (API), during a conference call on Wednesday.

Following Macondo, several task forces were formed by the industry to evaluate equipment operating practices, subsea well control and containment, which resulted in updates to recommended practices for drilling and well design and the establishment of the new Center for Offshore Safety and industry-led spill containment systems.

"These efforts have resulted in a multi-layer system with redundancies to help prevent accidents and well as improved response capabilities to oil spills," Milito noted, referring to this system as a stool with three strong legs – prevention, intervention and response.

Oil spill recovery organizations existed prior to Macondo, with assets dedicated to oil spill recovery around the continental U.S., Hawaii and the Caribbean. Since Macondo, these organizations and the Marine Well and Helix containment systems offer increased response capabilities, Milito commented.

Milito also noted that Recommended Practice 97, which calls for an operator's safety system to be bridged to the drilling contractors' safety system, would be a key document to enhance offshore performance.

"The good news is that the industry has come together to discuss and raise its level of performance, and through these discussions, the government has also been involved to provide input," Milito commented.


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