WASHINGTON, DC – The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) is proposing to scale back some of the safety measures put in place following the 2010 Macondo blowout, according to a recent Wall Street Journal report.
According to the report, the BSEE is proposing to relax requirements for streaming real-time data on offshore production back to facilities onshore, where that data would then be available for review by regulators.
The agency is also proposing to eliminate a provision requiring that third-party inspectors of critical equipment be certified by the BSEE. The agency sent its proposal to the White House budget office on Monday, according to the report.
With the advent of the Trump administration, industry groups such as the American Petroleum Institute, the Offshore Operators Committee and the National Ocean Industries Associationhave been urging the agency to amend the “well control rule.” That rule was issued by the BSEE under the Obama administration after the Macondo blowout.
While industry would get much of what it has sought with the proposed changes, BSEE is proposing to leave in place a standard for how much pressure drillers must maintain on a well to prevent a blowout. At the same time, the word “safe” would be deleted from that section of the rule, on the basis that regulators could exceed their authority in interpreting the term in a way to withhold certain drilling permits.
According to the report, the BSEE estimates that its proposed changes could save the industry more than $900 million over the next 10 years, and reverse some risk-reduction measures that drillers consider burdensome.