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

BOEM schedules public meetings about draft proposed 5-year OCS plan

02/06/2015 The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will hold the first of 20 public meetings in Washington on Feb. 9 to receive public comments on potential ...

Union strike ongoing at US refineries as negotiations continue

02/06/2015 A strike by union workers at nine US refining and petrochemical production plants remains under way as the United Steelworkers Union (USW) continue...

AOPL releases 2015 safety performance and strategic planning report

02/06/2015 The Association of Oil Pipe Lines is committed to further improvements despite a 99.99% safe petroleum liquids delivery rate, AOPL Pres. and Chief ...

Congressional Republicans renew bid to halt sue-and-settle maneuvers

02/05/2015 Calling it an affront to regulatory accountability that results in unchecked compliance burdens, US Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) and US Rep. D...

Goodlatte reintroduces bills to repeal, reform RFS

02/05/2015 Calling it “a true ‘kitchen table’ issue,” US Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) reintroduced a pair of bills to address problems in the federal Renewable ...

Alberta’s premier seeks more North American energy integration

02/05/2015 Better policy integration and cooperation will be needed for Canada, Mexico, and the US to fully realize the North American energy renaissance’s po...

BP trims capital budget by $4-6 billion

02/03/2015 BP PLC plans an organic capital expenditure of $20 billion in 2015, down from the previous guidance $24-26 billion. Total organic capital expenditu...

EPA suggests DOS reconsider Keystone XL climate impact conclusions

02/03/2015 The US Department of State might want to reconsider its conclusions regarding potential climate impacts from the proposed Keystone XL crude oil pip...

Kerry expects to receive other agencies’ Keystone XL reports soon

02/02/2015 US Sec. of State John F. Kerry said he expects to receive other federal agencies and departments’ reports soon on the proposed Keystone XL crude oi...
White Papers

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

The impact of aging infrastructure in process manufacturing industries

Process manufacturing companies in the oil and gas, utilities, chemicals and natural resource industri...
Sponsored by

What is System Level Thermo-Fluid Analysis?

This paper will explain some of the fundamentals of System Level Thermo-Fluid Analysis and demonstrate...
Available Webcasts


The Alternative Fuel Movement: Four Need-to-Know Excise Tax Complexities

When Thu, Jun 4, 2015

Discussion on how to approach, and ultimately embrace, the alternative fuel market by pulling back the veil on excise tax complexities. Taxes may be an aggravating part of daily operations, but their accuracy is crucial in your path towards business success.

register:WEBCAST



On Demand

Prevention, Detection and Mitigation of pipeline leaks in the modern world

Thu, Apr 30, 2015

Preventing, detecting and mitigating leaks or commodity releases from pipelines are a top priority for all pipeline companies. This presentation will look at various aspects related to preventing, detecting and mitigating pipeline commodity releases from a generic and conceptual point of view, while at the same time look at the variety of offerings available from Schneider Electric to meet some of the requirements associated with pipeline integrity management. 

register:WEBCAST


Global LNG: Adjusting to New Realities

Fri, Mar 20, 2015

Oil & Gas Journal’s March 20, 2015, webcast will look at how global LNG trade will be affected over the next 12-24 months by falling crude oil prices and changing patterns and pressures of demand. Will US LNG production play a role in balancing markets? Or will it add to a growing global oversupply of LNG for markets remote from easier natural gas supply? Will new buyers with marginal credit, smaller requirements, or great need for flexibility begin to look attractive to suppliers? How will high-cost, mega-projects in Australia respond to new construction cost trends?

register:WEBCAST


US Midstream at a Crossroads

Fri, Mar 6, 2015

Oil & Gas Journal’s Mar. 6, 2015, webcast will focus on US midstream companies at an inflection point in their development in response to more than 6 years shale oil and gas production growth. Major infrastructure—gas plants, gathering systems, and takeaway pipelines—have been built. Major fractionation hubs have expanded. Given the radically changed pricing environment since mid-2014, where do processors go from here? What is the fate of large projects caught in mid-development? How to producers and processors cooperate to ensure a sustainable and profitable future? This event will serve to set the discussion table for the annual GPA Convention in San Antonio, Apr. 13-16, 2015.

This event is sponsored by Leidos Engineering.

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