BSEE Orders Companies to Cease Work over SEMS Compliance

Twelve oil and gas companies with operations in the Gulf of Mexico failed to comply with the Safety and Environmental Management Systems (SEMS) requirements for the workplace safety rule, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) reported Wednesday.

SEMS regulations put into place in October 2010 following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill required offshore operators to complete an initial SEMS audit by Nov. 15 of this year.

BSEE Director Brian Salerno ordered five oil and gas companies Nov. 16 to cease operations in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico after they failed to provide BSEE with an audit plan and completed audit by the deadline, raising the question of whether these companies have implemented SEMS programs.

The five companies ordered to cease operations are Breton Energy LLC, EP Energy, Virgin Offshore USA, Matagorda Island Gas Operations LLC and XTO Offshore Inc.

The five companies were each given three days to reach a point in their operations where they can safely stop. While most of the companies are conducting plugging and abandonment or other decommissioning activities, the SEMS program elements are applicable to all offshore operations.

The impact of the enforcement action on Gulf of Mexico production will be miniscule, BSEE said in a Nov. 20 press release.

Seven additional companies submitted audit plans that complied with the SEMS regulations, but they failed to complete the audits before the deadline. These companies include Tengasco Inc., Petsec Energy, Monforte Exploration LLC, Legacy Resources Co. LP, GoMex Energy Offshore, Conn Energy Incorporated, and Badger Oil Corporation.


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