Skip to main content

Well Control Rule Enhances Safe Offshore Operations


202.682.8114 | press@api.org



WASHINGTON, May 2, 2019 – Today’s release of revisions to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) Well Control Rule is a part of an ongoing effort that has strengthened industry’s actions on safe operations and a regulatory framework that promotes updated, modern, and safe technologies, industry best practices, and operations.

“This revised well control rule will help to further manage risks and better protect workers and the environment,” said API’s Vice President of Upstream and Industry Operations Erik Milito. “The revision strengthens the rule and enhances a robust regulatory framework to ensure updated, modern, and safe technologies, best practices, and operations.

“The safety of our workers, our operations and our communities, along with protection of the environment, is the oil and natural gas industry’s number one priority. Offshore production delivers billions of dollars to the federal trea­sury and has created thousands upon thousands of jobs throughout the Gulf Coast as well as in states far removed from production activities, where American families and state budgets depend on reliable and abundant energy sources to meet consumer demand and to drive the econ­omy.”

Smart and effective regulation allows offshore operators flexibility to innovate and develop new technologies to ensure the United States continues to play a critical leadership role in safety and environmental protection while meeting America’s energy needs. BSEE’s reforms to the 2016 well control rule support tangible steps by the industry and the regulator to:

significantly improve capability to prevent, contain, and respond to a potential offshore incident revise flawed requirements in the previous rule that were found to have technical problems  establish a performance-based standard under which an approved safe drilling margin can be established on a case-by-case basis, using data and analysis specific to individual wells maintain decision making with onsite well personnel – subject to the regulatory authority of BSEE – who have the best understanding and most complete picture of the current operation, key risks, and critical considerations

The oil and natural gas industry is heavily invested in offshore safety – technology, standards, training and safety management – and works closely with the U.S. Department of the Interior in support of numerous new rules, regulatory enhancements, standards and safety programs. The result of these efforts is demonstrated through tangible steps by the industry, including the Center for Offshore Safety, the Marine Well Containment Company, HWCG, and new API standards on well containment and blowout prevention equipment. New regulations and best practices have also evolved around the U.S. Department of the Interior’s drilling safety rule, safety and environmental management systems rules, and risk-based inspection program.

API is the only national trade association representing all facets of the natural gas and oil industry, which supports 10.3 million U.S. jobs and nearly 8 percent of the U.S. economy. API’s more than 600 members include large integrated companies, as well as exploration and production, refining, marketing, pipeline, marine businesses, and service and supply firms. They provide most of the nation’s energy and are backed by a growing grassroots movement of more than 47 million Americans. API was formed in 1919 as a standards-setting organization. In its first 100 years, API has developed more than 700 standards to enhance operational and environmental safety, efficiency and sustainability.