Oil, Gas Industry Sounds Off on BSEE Proposed Well Control Rule

The International Association of Drilling Contractors (IADC) is one of seven oil and gas industry trade associations who expressed concerns in a joint letter to the BSEE about the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement’s (BSEE) Proposed Blowout Preventer Systems and Well Control rule .

The rule, which was proposed in April, came as a response to the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon tragedy. Itwill require more controls over the maintenance and repair of blowout preventers (BOPs), identified by BSEE in an April 13 press release as “a point of failure” in the Deepwater Horizon event.

In a release, IADC president and CEO Stephen Colville said the association “believes in the need for better regulation” as long as it’s “fair, fit for purpose, practically implementable and affordable” for the industry. Colville added that “the lengthy period of gestation of rule is regrettably unmatched by the very short period for public comment on it,” describing the rule as both “technical and wide-ranging.”

A spokesperson for IADC told Rigzone that the 90-day comment period for the rule – which was subsequently extended another 30 days – was “wholly inadequate given the complexity of the proposed regulations.” Additionally, the spokesperson hopes requested workshops to address the key subject areas of the proposed rule will be scheduled this fall after “BSEE has had an opportunity to undertake the preliminary review of the large number of comments that have been filed.”

The concerns of the IADC expressed in the letter include: requirements that go beyond international standards; the costs to drilling contractors to comply with the rule; and inspection and more BOP equipment requirements.

“Overall, the high cost imposed by the rule greatly exceeds the potential benefits derived from it, and will challenge the economics of outer continental shelf (OCS) operations,” Colville said in the release.

The American Petroleum Institute (API) also provided comments in the letter, stating “certain aspects of the rule, if not fixed, could have unintended consequences that increase the risk to people and the environment.”  


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