Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted August 9, 2019
Do you know what’s below? If not, dial before you dig.
This Sunday, August 11th is National 8-1-1 Day, a date promoting the awareness of buried pipelines and utilities as you break ground on projects around your home. Careful consideration – and one quick call – can go a long way toward keeping you and your property safe.
Posted May 16, 2019
Updated and new API standards that address the ethanol blended into the nation’s gasoline supply – developed in partnership with the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) – will enhance the natural gas and oil industry’s ability to safely trade and/or ship its products.
Certainly, our industry has disagreed with RFA over policies and specific provisions related to the Renewable Fuel Standard’s mandates for increasing ethanol use in the nation’s gasoline. Even so, we agree on the need for technical standards to help ensure the safe transfer of products and work together to develop them.
Posted April 30, 2019
Soon the federal government is expected to release its updated offshore well control rule, one that improves on its 2016 predecessor by providing flexibility to meet specific challenges across a variety of offshore conditions while encouraging innovation and technologies that help improve safety.
We expect that opponents of natural gas and oil development anywhere to attack the updated rule when it’s released. Yet, fact and logic will weigh heavily against them.
Posted April 17, 2019
With the Trump administration nearing release of a new five-year offshore leasing plan for oil and natural gas, offshore energy has never been safer or stronger – thanks to initiatives and technologies designed to enhance worker safety and protect the environment. (See this post dispelling offshore energy myths.) Below, 10 important developments that have strengthened the vitally important work of harnessing America’s offshore energy.
1. Center for Offshore Safety
The Center for Offshore Safety (COS) is an industry-led initiative to promote continuous safety improvement for offshore drilling, completions and operations through effective leadership, communication, teamwork, disciplined management systems and independent third-party auditing and certification.
Posted April 15, 2019
Every 6 minutes, an underground utility line is damaged because someone dug without first calling 811 – the number you can call for free, from anywhere in the country, to verify that it’s safe to dig.
The goal is to keep everyone safe by ensuring that there are no below-ground utility lines that could be unintentionally damaged.
April is Safe Digging Month, an annual campaign to remind homeowners and contractors to call 811 before starting a home project that involves digging.
Posted March 7, 2019
In this post last week we explained how alternative measures, approved by federal officials, may be used to comply with the 2016 well control rule, as well as all regulatory requirements associated with offshore oil and natural gas development. …
Now the federal Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) is chiming in – not surprising, since the agency’s integrity was besmirched. In a letter to members of Congress this week, Lars Herbst, BSEE’s Gulf of Mexico Outer Continental Shelf regional director, called the regulatory provision for alternative procedures or equipment “long-standing,” having been granted by the previous administration as well as the current one. Herbst writes that “zero” waivers have been granted by BSEE regarding the well control rule.
Posted February 28, 2019
Months before the federal offshore well control rule went into effect in July 2016, API told Congress the safety regulation could actually increase risks associated with offshore oil and natural gas development – that its rigid requirements could stifle innovation and thwart the effectiveness of new operational technologies.
The 2016 rule is an example of “prescriptive” regulation, a one-size-fits-all approach that requires certain processes, procedures and tests. It was and is the wrong approach for offshore safety – mainly because every oil and natural gas well has different characteristics: geology, depth, water pressure and temperature and other variables that factor into developing the best safety plan for a particular well.
In that context offshore operators seek government-approved alternative compliance paths – which they’ve done since the rule’s launch in 2016, when the Obama administration was in charge of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), the overseer of offshore safety. Indeed, the requests show the rule needs fixing.
Posted February 20, 2019
Over API’s 100-year history – we complete our first century next month – we’ve created more than 700 standards to enhance the safety, efficiency and sustainability of natural gas and oil operations. The newest of these updates Recommended Practice 54 (RP 54), which sets procedures to advance and maintain a safe and healthy work environment in drilling and well servicing operations.
Specifically, the new edition of RP 54 (first developed in 1981) includes a section on flowback operations, which is important for safe well testing. It also includes revised requirements for process hazard assessment for facilities and sites and introduces formal risk assessments and expanded provisions for offshore operations.
Posted February 6, 2019
Earlier this week, API President and CEO Mike Sommers and North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) President Sean McGarvey announced the start of new training courses on pipeline construction safety in West Virginia, Ohio and California as part of a groundbreaking partnership that was launched less than a year ago.
Posted January 28, 2019
The reopening of the federal government is welcome news for everyone. As one of the country’s most regulated sectors, the natural gas and oil industry urged resolution, recognizing the important federal role in our nation’s energy sector – including infrastructure project review, issuing permits and other activities.
That said, we’ll point out that during the shutdown, industry operated safely and efficiently each and every day, providing the natural gas and oil that support economic expansion, deliver valuable benefits to consumers, strengthen U.S. security and help advance progress on climate and environmental goals.
Industry’s commitment to regulatory compliance was unaffected by the shutdown, including regulation by EPA, the Bureau of Land Management, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, the U.S. Coast Guard and other agencies – as well as state regulations.