The US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement cited 12 offshore oil and gas operators for not meeting a Nov. 15 deadline to complete an initial Safety and Environmental Management Systems (SEMS) audit. Seventy-three other operators successfully satisfied the requirement, and the US Department of the Interior agency said it will analyze their reports and work them to ensure their corrective action plans address deficiencies and continuously improve.
“An effective, fully implemented SEMS program is essential to reducing risks across offshore operations,” BSEE Director Brian Salerno said. “BSEE must be assured that companies are addressing the key elements of SEMS and that they are not needlessly putting their workers and the environment at risk. We will vigorously enforce compliance with this fundamental requirement.”
Salerno noted that beginning Nov. 16, he directed five operators—Breton Energy LLC, Houston; EP Energy, Houston; Virgin Offshore USA, Lafayette, La.; Matagorda Island Gas Operations LLC, Morgan City, La.; and XTO Energy Inc., Houston—to suspend operations until BSEE could determine that SEMS requirements had been addressed.
Seven other operators—Tengasco Inc., Houston; Petsec Energy, Lafayette; Monforte Exploration LLC, Houston; Legacy Resources Co. LLC, Scott, La.; GoMex Energy Offshore Ltd., The Woodlands, Tex.; Conn Energy Inc., Mandeville, La.; and Badger Oil Corp., Lafayette—submitted the necessary audit plans by Nov. 15 but did not complete the audits themselves in time.
Those companies were directed to immediately provide BSEE with a copy of their SEMS program; have the company’s chief executive officer certify, under penalty of perjury, that the company has implemented the SEMS program; and complete their SEMS audit without further delay, BSEE said.
It said it acted only after repeated notifications via e-mail and letters to the companies during the past year, reminding them of the deadline and offering to work with them to ensure they understood the requirements. BSEE said it also offered to waive the requirement to submit an audit plan 30 days before conducting the audit in an effort to encourage operators to complete their audits before the deadline.
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