August 23, 2023

The Department of the Interior today announced new measures to enhance worker safety and ensure offshore oil and gas operations on the Outer Continental Shelf are conducted with the utmost safety and oversight standards.
The final well control rule from the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) builds upon the historic regulatory reforms implemented by the Department in the aftermath of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and resulting oil spill that killed 11 people and caused billions of dollars in environmental damage and economic loss to coastal communities.
Final rule incorporates key lessons learned from operator experience, incident data regarding blowout preventers, and well integrity since the publication of the 2016 rule and revises or rescinds certain modifications that were made in the 2019 rule.
The Department has finalized revisions that will:
• Require blowout preventer systems (BOPs) to be able to always close and seal the wellbore to the well’s maximum anticipated surface pressure, except as otherwise specified in the BOP system requirement section of the regulations.
• Require failure data to be reported to both a designated third party and BSEE.
• Require failure analysis and investigations to start within 90 days of an incident.
• Require independent third-party qualifications to be submitted to BSEE with the associated permit applications.
• Specify that surface BOPs on existing floating facilities must follow the dual shear ram requirements when replacing an entire BOP stack.
• Require that remotely operated vehicles be capable of opening and closing each shear ram on a BOP.
• Require the operator to provide BOP test results to BSEE within 72 hours after completion of the tests if BSEE is unable to witness testing.
(Source: BSEE – Sinking of the Deepwater Horizon/ABC26)