BSEE Finalizes Improved Blowout-Preventer and Well-Control Regulations

The US Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) released the final improved blowout-preventer-systems and cell-control regulations. BSEE says its final well-control rule removes unnecessary regulatory burdens to responsible offshore development while maintaining safety and environmental protection. The revised rule reflects the Trump Administration’s focus on smarter regulations that provide regulatory certainty, signal American competitiveness, advance energy security, and sustain economic prosperity while promoting safety.

“Today’s final rule puts safety first, both public and environmental safety, in a common sense way,” said US Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt. “Incorporating the best available science, best practices, and technological innovations of the past decade, the rule eliminates unnecessary regulatory burdens while maintaining safety and environmental protection offshore. Under President Trump’s leadership, America is a leader on energy resulting in greater security and economic prosperity.”

“BSEE’s review has been thorough, careful, and tailored,” said BSEE Director Scott Angelle. “Free of undue regulatory burden while ensuring that operators conduct outer continental shelf activities in a safe and environmentally responsible manner, today’s rule will fuel and sustain responsible energy exploration and production of America’s outer continental shelf.”

The final revised rule leaves 274 out of 342 original Well Control Rule provisions, approximately 80%, unchanged. Sixty-eight provisions were identified as appropriate for revision, and 33 provisions were added to improve operations on the OCS. Following the direction of both Executive Order 13795 and Secretary's Order 3350, the final rule addresses offshore oil and gas drilling, completions, workovers, and decommissioning activities.

Furthermore, BSEE considered all 424 recommendations arising from 26 separate reports from 14 different organizations developed in the wake of and in response to the Deepwater Horizon and found that none of the revisions contravened any of these recommendations.

  • The improvements to requirements for blowout preventer (BOP) design and testing include:
  • Limiting the number of connection points to the BOP, reducing the number of potential failure points
  • Equipping each BOP with a high-flow receptacle to ensure faster delivery of fluid to perform the function from a remotely operated vehicle
  • Requiring an array of rams, which are steel covers designed to close rapidly around and over a drillpipe to stop the flow of hydrocarbons, with specific capabilities, allowing the most effective use of each ram type and maximizing functionality
  • Improving the expected lifespan of a critical BOP component by specifying a testing methodology that provides a readiness check without putting unnecessary wear and tear on the component

Find the new rule here (PDF).



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