COS names Williams as executive director

The Center for Offshore Safety, an industry organization formed to enhance Gulf of Mexico deepwater safety and environmental performance, announced Mar. 7 that its executive director is Charlie Williams, who is retiring from Shell Energy Resources.

Williams was chief scientist, well engineering and production technology, since 2005, and he has 40 years experience working in the oil and gas industry. He directed a taskforce that helped develop COS and served as chairman of the COS governing board.

The COS governing board is made up of operators, drilling contractors, service and supply contractors, and trade association representatives. It’s implementing programs to help deepwater operators execute advanced safety and environmental management oversight systems.

COS’s announcement came during an American Petroleum Institute conference call from Washington, DC. COS is developing an audit checklist and system of third-party audits so operators can assess the effectiveness and implementation of these systems based on API’s Recommend Practice 75.

This practice provides an outline for creating and implementing leading safety management programs and is referenced in the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement workplace safety regulation.

Operator program auditing is a key part of BSEE rules, an API news release said.

“Our top priority is to develop practices and programs that will help operators perform at their very best in implementing safety and environmental management systems,” Williams said. He also chairs the Joint Industry Task Force on Subsea Containment, is on the Marine Well Containment Project operating committee, the Marine Well Containment Co. executive board, and the US Department of Interior’s Offshore Energy Safety Advisory Committee.

API’s conference call about the new COS executive direction came the day after Baker Hughes Inc. Chairman, Pres., and Chief Executive Officer Chad Deaton questioned what he called an apparent lack of action from COS.

Speaking Mar. 6 at the IADC/SPE drilling conference in San Diego, Deaton said, “The Center for Offshore Safety started out well, but it’s lost its teeth. When it started, you heard a lot, and [news about] it has died off.” Deaton said he supports the concept behind COS.

COS is to be run by a standards and certification arm of API, which receive regular audits and accreditation by the American National Standards Institute and the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board.

Following Deaton’s comments, Diamond Offshore Vice-Pres. M.R. Plaisance told OGJ on the conference sidelines that COS deliberately has been quiet while developing an independent auditing system for offshore operators.

Plaisance serves on the COS governing board, which has been working since August 2011.

API’s Upstream Committee has served as the main sponsor for COS to get started, Plaisance said.

The oil and gas industry approved creation of the COS following API’s August 2010 testimony and its October 2010 letter to the Presidential Oil Spill Commission in the wake of the April 2010 deepwater Macondo well blowout and resulting massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico off Louisiana.

Eleven crew members were killed during an explosion and fire on Transocean Ltd.’s Deepwater Horizon semisubmersible drilling rig, which was on contract for BP PLC. BP operated the Macondo well.

COS, to be based in Houston, is open to all companies that operate in deepwater exploration and production. Its focus is based on API’s Recommended Practice 75, covering safety and environmental management systems that have been implemented into US federal offshore regulations.

Contact Paula Dittrick at

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