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Final rule aims to improve safety in offshore oil and gas industry

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Washington – Workers in the offshore oil and gas industry could benefit from a final rule that revises and updates site safety and maintenance requirements for the first time since 1988.

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement published the final rule in the Sept. 7 Federal Register. According to BSEE, the rule incorporates many policies developed by the agency during the past 28 years as safety technologies have advanced.

Among the changes:

  • Regulatory language calling for use of best available and safest technology
  • New design and testing requirements for boarding shutdown valves, which stop hydrocarbon flow to a facility during an emergency
  • Prohibition of the installation of single bore production risers, which BSEE believes do not provide an acceptable level of safety, on new floating production facilities
  • New requirements for tube type heaters to prevent equipment failure

The rule is scheduled to go into effect Nov. 7. BSEE has released a fact sheet on the changes, which the agency claims will improve safety at the more than 3,000 oil and gas collection and treatment sites on the Outer Continental Shelf.

“By updating the requirements for these critical safety systems, we are meeting our commitment to promote the highest level of protection for both offshore workers and the environment,” BSEE Director Brian Salerno said in a press release. “The rulemaking process allowed us to develop the most effective and timely revisions by incorporating input from our partner federal agencies, industry, and research organizations.”

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