Well Control Rule Takes Effect
Many of the U.S. Well Control Rule provisions effect July 28.
The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) published the final version of the rule Oil and Gas and Sulfur Operations in the Outer Continental Shelf-Blowout Preventer Systems and Well Control on April 29, with an implementation date set for 90 days following publication.
The rule enacts the recommendations of the Deepwater Horizon commission and formalizes standards that are widely seen as industry best practices, states BSEE. Although “most” provisions take effect next Thursday, a number of requirements will be phased in over several years.
“We think we’ve been very fair in terms of the timetable,” said Director, Brian Salerno, “allowing as much as seven years before implementation of the final phase.” Salerno added that he hoped, “the industry will, as some have already been doing, implement the safety features as soon as possible.”
In addition to addressing items implicated in the Deepwater Horizon tragedy, the Well Control Rule also makes mandatory certain practices that were recommended by the American Petroleum Institute. Some of the major provisions in the rule include mandates that require blowout preventer systems equipped with both drill pipe centering technologies and dual shear rams, rigorous third-party certification of shearing capability, real-time monitoring of higher risk drilling operations and reporting of safety equipment failures in order to address potential systemic problems in their early stages.
This subset of items, Salerno suggested, demonstrates the type of logical provisions the Well Control Rule contains. “Compared to the potential loss of lives and resources, and the damage that a spill can inflict, the costs of implementation will save money in the long run,” he said.
More information is available here.
A Regulatory Impact Analysis is available here.