Oil and gas

BSEE proposes new offshore drilling safety rule

offshore rig

Photo: Thinkstock

Washington – A new proposed rule from the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement would attempt to address gaps in offshore drilling safety identified during investigations into the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Eleven workers were killed in April 2010 when the offshore rig exploded off the Louisiana coast, spilling millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

A main contributor to the tragedy was the failure of the rig’s blowout preventer. BSEE’s proposed rule would feature more requirements related to the design, maintenance and repair of blowout preventers. The proposal also incorporates industry standards, including blowout preventers with double shear ram and increased reporting of failure data.

“This rule builds on enhanced industry standards for blowout preventers to comprehensively address well design, well control and overall drilling safety,” Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell said in a press release. The Department of the Interior oversees BSEE.

Comments on the proposed rule are due 60 days after it has been formally published in the Federal Register.