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Flawed Well Control Rule needs technical input and fixes before implementation


Reid Porter | 202.682.8114 | porterr@api.org



WASHINGTON, December 1, 2015 – The well control rule proposed by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) could increase risk and decrease safety in offshore operations, API told the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on Tuesday.

“The oil and natural gas industry, in coordination with federal regulators, has made great strides in making offshore energy exploration safer than ever while advancing the energy security of our nation,” said Erik Milito, API upstream group director, in testimony at the Senate hearing. “We are committed to working with the government to improve the proposals and achieve the mutually desired objective of safety by getting this rule right.”

API and six fellow trade associations, the International Association of Drilling Contractors, the Independent Petroleum Association of America, National Ocean Industries Association, the Offshore Operators Committee, the Petroleum Equipment & Services Association and the U.S. Oil and Gas Association, drew on the expertise of over 300 subject matter experts from more than 70 companies who expended tens of thousands of collective hours to provide BSEE a technically-based set of comments to aid in its efforts to create a robust and effective well control rule. However, the compressed comment period of 90 days did not allow for full technical comments prior to a rulemaking. As a result, as proposed, the rule reflects a one-size-fits-all approach that does not recognize the variability of operations and engineering specific to each well.

“Prescriptive requirements will only serve to stifle innovation and delay implementation of new technologies that could improve safety and operations,” said Milito. “Working together, we can develop practical final rules that are ultimately both feasible and effective for the future of safe and responsible energy development.”

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

API represents all segments of America’s oil and natural gas industry. Its more than 625 members produce, process, and distribute most of the nation’s energy. The industry also supports 9.8 million U.S. jobs and 8 percent of the U.S. economy.