WASHINGTON– The board of directors of the American Petroleum Institute (API) formally endorsed the industry’s steps to create a Center for Offshore Safety, during its spring meeting.
“After extensive review and development, the oil and natural gas industry has approved the creation of the Center for Offshore Safety, which will promote the highest level of safety for offshore operations, through an effective program that addresses management practices, communication and teamwork, and which relies on independent, third-party auditing and verification,” said Jack Gerard, API president and CEO. “The board directed API to further develop the operational framework and timeline for the center—working with other industry stakeholders—to enhance industry safety and environmental performance.”
Today’s actions follow API’s August 2010 testimony and its October 2010 letter to the Presidential Oil Spill Commission, regarding the industry’s review of five other safety programs, including: the U.K.’s Step Change in Safety, the chemical industry’s Responsible Care program, the Institute for Nuclear Power Operations, the OSHA Voluntary Protection Program, and the Safety Case Regime for international operators.
The Center for Offshore Safety will draw on the lessons learned from successful, existing safety programs, applying the best elements of these programs to accommodate the unique challenges of offshore oil and natural gas operations, and will rely on independent auditing and review by third-party certifiers, according to API.
“While many of the Center’s structure and operating details have yet to be resolved,” said Gerard, “the program will be run by the separately-funded standards and certification arm of the American Petroleum Institute, which receive regular audits and accreditation by the American National Standards Institute and the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board.”
The Center will be based in Houston and will be open to all companies that operate in deepwater exploration and production. The focus of the center will be based on API’s Recommended Practice 75, covering safety and environmental management systems, which was recently incorporated into federal regulations by BOEMRE.