BSEE, USCG sign agreement to jointly regulate MODUs on OCS

US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement Director James A. Watson and US Coast Guard Rear Adm. Joseph Servidio signed a memorandum of agreement for regulating mobile offshore drilling units on the US Outer Continental Shelf.

BSEE and USCG will work together to identify and coordinate responsibilities for the inspection and oversight of MODUs in federal offshore waters, the agency’s leaders said.

“MODUs are unique and dynamic vessels that are an important part of the offshore oil and gas industry's exploration efforts, but as we learned from the Deepwater Horizon tragedy, these highly complex drilling units with their state-of-the-art equipment and ultradeepwater drilling capabilities must be closely monitored,” Watson said.

“This agreement between BSEE and the Coast Guard serves as a significant milestone in achieving coordinated oversight of MODUs while continuing our joint effort to improve offshore safety,” he maintained.

Under the current regulatory system, both USCG and BSEE share jurisdiction over regulation of MODU activities on the OCS, the agency leaders said.

Responsibilities outlined

This MOA ensures a comprehensive joint approach by clearly outlining each agency’s inspection and oversight responsibilities for the systems and subsystems associated with MODUs drilling offshore.

BSEE and USCG will use this MOA to better align policies and procedures while also collaborating on future regulatory projects, they indicated.

Servidio, who is assistant commandant for prevention policy for the US Department of Homeland Security division, said USCG and BSEE said the agencies share the goal of keeping US oceans clean and offshore workers safe.

“This agreement solidifies the commitment of each regulatory agency to work across boundaries to promote safety through the clear delineation of each agency’s oversight and inspection responsibilities for MODU activities,” Servidio said.

The MOA was executed under a Nov. 29, 2012, MOU that the agencies previously reached.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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