UK government says deepwater rules adequate

Paula Dittrick
OGJ Senior Staff Writer

HOUSTON, Mar. 22 -- The UK government Mar. 22 issued a report saying existing deepwater oil and gas drilling rules address most concerns raised by the parliamentary Energy and Climate Change Committee following the Macondo well blowout and spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The report was a joint response including contributions from the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change, the Health and Safety Executive, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and the Department for Business Innovation and Skills.

The joint response stemmed from questions raised by the Energy and Climate Change Committee in January regarding the oil industry’s preparedness to respond in case of a North Sea deepwater well blowout and oil spill.

“We conclude that the UK has high offshore regulatory standards,” the report said. “The UK regulatory framework is based on flexible, goal-setting principles that are superior to those under which the Deepwater Horizon operated.”

The Deepwater Horizon semisubmersible drilling rig, owned by Transocean Ltd., sank in April 2010 after an explosion and fire followed loss of control of the Macondo well, operated by BP PLC, in 5,000 ft of water off Louisiana.

“Despite the high regulatory standards in the UK, we are concerned that the offshore oil and gas industry is responding to disasters, rather than anticipating worst-case scenarios and planning for high-consequence, low-probability events,” the government report said.

Regarding concerns from lawmakers about the ability of oil spill response equipment to function in the harsh environment west of the Shetland Island, the government report said that has been addressed. Chevron Corp. developed a cap that can seal a blowout in this area, and the equipment is available to industry. Additional capping equipment is being developed.

Chevron’s equipment is kept in the Aberdeen area. The capping device is designed to be deployed from any vessel with adequate position-keeping, lifting, and remotely operated vehicle capability, the report said, noting that weather and sea state can impose limitations on any marine operations.

Offshore trade group Oil & Gas UK issued a response to the government report, saying it welcomed the recommendation that there should not be a moratorium on deepwater drilling n the UK sector of the North Sea.

The government said it and industry are assessing blowout preventers and whether BOPs should be upgraded to include additional blind shear rams. Failure of a single blind-shear ram on the Deepwater Horizon BOP seems to have contributed to the Macondo well blowout, the UK government report said.

OGUK suggested the government be cautious in its review of equipment requirements.

“We believe that building in the additional redundancy of two blind shear rams across the entire UKCS is unnecessary and may actually impede both operational capacities and the safe operation of some installations,” OGUK noted. “We also fear that this could imply an over-reliance on one barrier or piece of equipment. Whilst the BOP is of course an essential safety component, it is but one of several safety barriers which should be in place.”

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

Related Articles

PHMSA proposes pipeline accident notification regulations

07/02/2015 The US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has proposed new federal oil and gas pipeline accident and notification regulations. ...

BHI: US oil rig count rises for first time in 30 weeks

07/02/2015 A sudden 12-unit jump in oil-directed rigs during the abbreviated week ended July 2 represented their first rise since Dec. 5, 2014, and helped lif...

BP to settle federal, state Deepwater Horizon claims for $18.7 billion

07/02/2015 BP Exploration & Production Inc. has agreed in principle to settle all federal and state claims arising from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon inciden...

API to issue recommended practice to address pipeline safety

07/01/2015 The American Petroleum Institute expects to issue a new recommended practice in another few weeks that addresses pipeline safety issues, but the tr...

Shell makes FID on Appomattox deepwater development in Gulf of Mexico

07/01/2015 Royal Dutch Shell PLC has taken a final investment decision (FID) on the Appomattox deepwater development, authorizing construction and installatio...

BHP, Woodside move to decommission Stybarrow field

07/01/2015 BHP Billiton Ltd. and Woodside Petroleum Ltd. have started preparations for decommissioning of the Stybarrow group of oil fields in production lice...

Tullow Oil provides production update on Jubilee, other fields

07/01/2015 Tullow Oil PLC reported that gross production for the Jubilee field offshore Ghana averaged 105,000 b/d in this year’s first half, up from 102,000 ...

Statoil to suspend Scarabeo 5 drilling rig

07/01/2015 Due to overcapacity in its rig portfolio, Statoil ASA said it has decided to suspend Saipem’s Scarabeo 5 dynamically position drilling rig after it...

FWS issues Shell letter of authorization on Chukchi Sea lease

07/01/2015 The US Fish & Wildlife Service issued Shell Gulf of Mexico Inc. a letter of authorization (LOA) related to the potential disturbance of polar b...
White Papers

2015 Global Engineering Information Management Solutions Competitive Strategy Innovation and Leadership Award

The Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Awards recognise companies in a variety of regional and global...
Sponsored by

Three Tips to Improve Safety in the Oil Field

Working oil fields will always be tough work with inherent risks. There’s no getting around that. Ther...
Sponsored by

Pipeline Integrity: Best Practices to Prevent, Detect, and Mitigate Commodity Releases

Commodity releases can have catastrophic consequences, so ensuring pipeline integrity is crucial for p...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Digital Asset Approach - Defining a new era of collaboration in capital projects and asset operations

There is constant, intensive change in the capital projects and asset life cycle management. New chall...
Sponsored by

Transforming the Oil and Gas Industry with EPPM

With budgets in the billions, timelines spanning years, and life cycles extending over decades, oil an...
Sponsored by

Asset Decommissioning in Oil & Gas: Transforming Business

Asset intensive organizations like Oil and Gas have their own industry specific challenges when it com...
Sponsored by

Squeezing the Green: How to Cut Petroleum Downstream Costs and Optimize Processing Efficiencies with Enterprise Project Portfolio Management Solutions

As the downstream petroleum industry grapples with change in every sector and at every level, includin...
Sponsored by

7 Steps to Improve Oil & Gas Asset Decommissioning

Global competition and volatile markets are creating a challenging business climate for project based ...
Sponsored by
Available Webcasts


Driving Growth and Efficiency with Deep Insights into Operational Data

When Wed, Aug 19, 2015

Capitalizing on today’s momentum in Oil & Gas requires operational excellence based on a clear view of what your business data is telling you. Which is why nearly half* of oil and gas companies have deployed SAP HANA or have it on their roadmap.

Join SAP and Red Hat to learn more about using data to drive process improvements and identify new opportunities with the SAP HANA platform running on Red Hat Enterprise Linux. This webinar will also show how your choice of infrastructure impacts the performance of core business applications and your ability to achieve data-driven insights quickly and reliably.

*48% use SAP, http://go.sap.com/solution/industry/oil-gas.html

register:WEBCAST



On Demand

OGJ's Midyear Forecast 2015

Fri, Jul 10, 2015

This webcast is to be presented by OGJ Editor Bob Tippee and Senior Economic Editor Conglin Xu.  They will summarize the Midyear Forecast projections in key categories, note important changes from January’s forecasts, and examine reasons for the adjustments.

register:WEBCAST


Predictive Analytics in your digital oilfield - Optimize Production Yield and Reduce Operational Costs

Tue, Jul 7, 2015

Putting predictive analytics to work in your oilfield can help you anticipate failures, plan and schedule work in advance, eliminate emergency work and catastrophic failures, and at the same time you can optimize working capital and improve resource utilization.  When you apply analytic capabilities to critical production assets it is possible to reduce non-productive time and increase your yield.

Learn how IBM's analytics capabilities can be applied to critical production assets with the goal of reducing non-productive time, increasing yield and reducing operations costs.

register:WEBCAST


Cognitive Solutions for Upstream Oil and Gas

Fri, Jun 12, 2015

The oil & gas sector is under pressure on all sides. Reserves are limited and it’s becoming increasingly expensive to find and extract new resources. Margins are already being squeezed in an industry where one wrong decision can cost millions. Analyzing data used in energy exploration can save millions of dollars as we develop ways to predict where and how to extract the world’s massive energy reserves.

This session with IBM Subject Matter Experts will discuss how IBM Cognitive Solutions contribute to the oil and gas industry using predictive analytics and cognitive computing, as well as real time streaming for exploration and drilling.

register:WEBCAST


Emerson Micro Motion Videos

Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!

 

Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected