BSEE begins to establish Ocean Energy Safety Institute

The US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement is establishing an independent Ocean Energy Safety Institute, BSEE Director James A. Watson announced. Its purpose will be to further enhance safe and responsible operations across the offshore oil and gas industry, he said.

OESI will provide a forum for dialogue, shared learning, and cooperative research among academic, government, industry, and other nongovernment organizations in offshore-related technologies and activities that ensure safe operations with limited impact to the environment, according to Watson.

“The institute will help federal regulators keep pace with new processes employed by the industry as they move into deeper water and deeper geologic plays that require technological innovation to bring projects into production,” he said on May 29.

BSEE said it is forming OESI following a recommendation from the Ocean Energy Safety Advisory Committee (OESC), a federal advisory group comprised of representatives from industry, federal government agencies, nongovernmental organizations and the academic community.

The recommendation called for establishing a body which will provide a research, technical assistance, and education program, and become a center of offshore oil and gas exploration, development, and production technology expertise, it indicated.

OESI will be an important source of unbiased, independent information and will not have any regulatory authority over the offshore industry, the US Department of the Interior agency said.

“As offshore energy development becomes more complex, every effort should be made to make sure it is done ever more safely,” said Thomas O. Hunter, who chairs the OESC and is a former Sandia National Laboratory director.

“The institute provides a unique opportunity for all engaged parties to work together to identify and deploy technology that will make a real and enduring difference,” he observed. “The time is right and the opportunity is clear.”

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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