NRC committee urges BSEE to modify safety practices

The US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement should modify some existing practices in evaluating offshore safety and environmental systems (SEMS) programs’ effectiveness, a National Research Council committee report recommended.

The report from the National Academies of Science emphasized using cooperation and consultation to promote safety, suggesting this approach include inspections, operator audits, bureau audits, key performance indicators, and a whistleblower program.

The US Department of the Interior implemented offshore oil and gas SEMS requirements last year following the April 2010 Macondo deepwater well blowout and crude oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The report said employees throughout a corporation must accept a SEMS program if the program is to succeed.

“Only then can an effective culture of safety be established and grow,” the committee said.

For the most part, the committee’s recommendations were consistent with the BSSE’s proposed changes to SEMS.

More than checklists

An effective offshore SEMS program requires more than simply providing checklists, the report emphasized.

The committee consulted with the US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Mine Safety and Health Administration, the US Coast Guard, and the California State Lands Commission domestically; UK’s Health and Safety Executive and Norway’s Petroleum Safety Authority.

These government agencies have found engagement with the industry more productive than punishment, the committee said, noting that the agencies “maintain the threat of punishment if needed.”

BSEE should consider allowing inspectors to spend more time offshore interacting with operating staff and observing daily operations, the report said.

To help enable this, the report suggested operators might provide transportation and accommodations for inspectors.

Audits by both BSEE and operators are critical, the report asserted. Risk-based audits by the operator’s own qualified independent team or by a third party with at least one operator employee who is not directly involved will help encourage an appropriate safety culture, the report said.

“BSEE, in consultation with the industry and, potentially, the Center for Offshore Safety (COS), should develop an approach to certify auditors, develop audit standards, and establish the process by which audits themselves are conducted,” the report said.

BSEE audits

BSEE should perform complete or partial offshore SEMS program audits when justified by reports from inspectors, reviews of operators’ audit reports, incidents, or events, according to the report. “Because of the comprehensive nature of the SEMS requirements, BSEE’s oversight of internal and third-party audits needs to include a range of techniques, each of which focuses on a different aspect of an operation’s safety system,” it said.

The committee suggested BSEE develop key performance or other indicators that would be effective in evaluating an offshore operator’s or installation’s SEMS program and safety culture.

A whistleblower program also enables employees to anonymously report dangers not obvious to BSEE inspectors, the report said.

“Care should be taken in devising this program to make sure that it does not become a tool for disgruntled employees seeking to punish perceived wrongs,” the committee said.

The committee noted that as it wrote its report in early September 2011, BSEE published a list of proposed changes in its offshore oil and gas SEMS requirements.

The committee said all but one of the proposed changes—a requirement that SEMS audits be performed by independent third parties—is consistent with the report's findings. Complete or even heavy reliance on outside auditors potentially could contribute to a compliance mentality and undermine establishment of an effective offshore safety culture, it warned.

A BSEE spokesperson said that the agency appreciated the committee's work on the study, which was produced at BSEE's request, and would closely review the report's findings and recommendations.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com

Related Articles

EIA: US oil output fell 50,000 b/d in May

07/07/2015 Total US crude oil production dropped 50,000 b/d in May compared with April and is expected to continue falling through early 2016 before growth re...

BLM approves ROW for Elko gas pipeline expansion project

07/07/2015 The US Bureau of Land Management’s Tuscarora, Nev., field office signed a decision record approving a right-of-way for Paiute Pipeline Co.’s (PPC) ...

Obama urged by IPAA president to lift ban on US crude exports

07/07/2015 Commending the administration for its actions allowing some condensate to be exported as a petroleum product, Independent Petroleum Association of ...

AER shuts in 16 Murphy Oil sites in Peace River region for noncompliance

07/07/2015 Alberta Energy Regulator said it has shut in or partially shut in 16 sites operated by Murphy Oil Co. Ltd. in the Peace River region. The sites wer...

MARKET WATCH: NYMEX, Brent oil prices take dive on world oil oversupply concerns

07/07/2015 US light, sweet crude oil prices plummeted more than $4/bbl on the New York market July 6, marking a 5-month low, while Brent crude oil prices on t...

WAFWA: Aerial survey finds lesser prairie chicken population grew

07/06/2015 A recent range-wide aerial survey found the lesser prairie chicken population rose 25% from 2014 to 2015, the Western Association of Fish & Wil...

Buru awarded onshore Canning licenses

07/06/2015 Buru Energy Ltd., Perth, and Mitsubish Corp. have been granted two production licenses for Ungani oil field in the onshore Canning basin of Western...

Cenovus sells royalty business for $3.3 billion

07/06/2015 Cenovus Energy Inc., Calgary, inked an agreement to sell its wholly owned subsidiary Heritage Royalty LP to Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan for gros...

CERI: Energy, operational efficiencies possible in Canadian oil, gas

07/06/2015 Measures can be taken by operators in the expanding resource-intensive Canadian oil and gas sector to improve both energy efficiency and operationa...
White Papers

Solutions to Financial Distress Resulting from a Weak Oil and Gas Price Environment

The oil and gas industry is in the midst of a prolonged worldwide downturn in commodity prices. While ...
Sponsored by

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
Available Webcasts


The Resilient Oilfield in the Internet of Things World

When Tue, Sep 22, 2015

As we hear about the hype surrounding the Internet of Things, the oil and gas industry is questioning what is different than what is already being done. What is new?  Using sensors and connecting devices is nothing new to our mode of business and in many ways the industry exemplifies many principles of an industrial internet of things. How does the Internet of Things impact the oil and gas industry?

Prolific instrumentation and automation digitized the industry and has changed the approach to business models calling for a systems led approach.  Resilient Systems have the ability to adapt to changing circumstances while maintaining their central purpose.  A resilient system, such as Maximo, allows an asset intensive organization to leverage connected devices by merging real-time asset information with other critical asset information and using that information to create a more agile organization.  

Join this webcast, sponsored by IBM, to learn how about Internet of Things capabilities and resilient systems are impacting the landscape of the oil and gas industry.

register:WEBCAST



On Demand

Taking the Headache out of Fuel License and Exemption Certificates: How to Ensure Compliance

Tue, Aug 25, 2015

This webinar, brought to you by Avalara, will detail the challenges of tax document management, as well as recommend solutions for fuel suppliers. You will learn:

-    Why it’s critical to track business partner licenses and exemption documents
-    The four key business challenges of ensuring tax compliance through document management
-    Best practice business processes to minimize exposure to tax errors

register:WEBCAST


Driving Growth and Efficiency with Deep Insights into Operational Data

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


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


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