API cautions Obama Administration: Offshore well control rule could harm safety

Gulf of Mexico area is one of the most important American regions for energy resources, infrastructure

well controlThe American Petroleum Institute repeated industry concerns Wednesday to the Obama Administration that the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement’s (BSEE) Well Control Rule may have unintended negative consequences for safety and affect future offshore energy projects.

“The Well Control Rule will affect offshore energy projects for years to come,” said Erik Milito, API upstream group director.

“If left unchanged from the proposal, the flaws in the rule could lead to increased risks and decreased safety in offshore operations.”

One of API’s primary roles is the development of industry standards. API has approximately 275 exploration and production standards that address offshore operations, covering everything from blowout preventers to comprehensive guidelines for offshore safety programs, and more than 100 have been incorporated into federal regulation.

well control

Erik Milito, API upstream group director

Since 2010 API has published over 100 new and revised exploration and production standards, including for offshore well design, blowout prevention equipment, worker safety and other elements of oil and natural gas development, according to Milito.

The industry also launched the Center for Offshore Safety in 2011 to support continuous safety improvements.

Both BOEM and the EIA state that the Gulf of Mexico area is one of the most important regions for energy resources and infrastructure. And the EIA acknowledges through data in its Annual Energy Outlook that oil and natural gas will be needed to supply Americans with the energy they need for decades to come.

“The oil and natural gas industry will continue to work with regulators, as we have always engaged with the agencies, to work for an ever safer offshore operating environment and provide the nation with the energy it needs,” said Milito.

API also discussed the long-term importance of expanding offshore oil and natural gas development and ensuring continued offshore lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and the Arctic in the final 2017-2022 five year program.

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