BSEE revises production safety systems regulations

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement has updated oil and gas production safety systems regulations.

Offshore staff

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) has updated oil and gas production safety systems regulations.

The bureau said that its revisions reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens while ensuring that operations remain safe and environmentally responsible.

BSEE Director Scott Angelle said: “BSEE has incorporated industry innovation, best science and best practices in the Oil and Gas Production Safety Systems Rule to ensure safety and environmental sustainability.

“When critical energy resources are produced safely and responsibly, we build a stronger energy future for the nation. We can achieve robust energy production only if operations are conducted in a safe and environmentally sustainable manner.”

The Oil and Gas Production Safety Systems Rule, also known as Subpart H, addresses safety and pollution prevention equipment, subsea safety devices, and safety device testing for the production of oil and gas resources on the outer continental shelf.

In keeping with Executive and Secretarial Orders issued in 2017, BSEE analyzed all 484 provisions in the original 2016 Production Safety Systems Rule and determined that 84 of those provisions – less than 18% of the original rule – were appropriate for revision or deletion. The final rule also adds seven new provisions.

The bureau compared all provisions in the final rule to the 424 recommendations arising from 26 separate reports from 14 different organizations developed in the wake of and in response to theDeepwater Horizon incident, and determined that these changes to Subpart H will not contradict or ignore any of those recommendations, nor will they alter any provision of the 2016 rule in a way that would make the result inconsistent with those recommendations.

Nothing in this final rule, BSEE said, will alter any elements of other rules promulgated since theDeepwater Horizon incident, including the Drilling Safety Rule (Oct. 2010), SEMS I (Oct. 2010), SEMS II (April 2013), and 2016 WCR (April 2016). 

“BSEE approached revising the 2016 Production Safety Systems Rule with a thoughtful and laser-like focus,” Angelle said. “The review team, comprised of career subject matter experts, used a scalpel, rather than a chainsaw, to make these revisions.”

In addition to measures that reduce unnecessary notifications and clarify when operators must provide documentation, the final rule codifies 12 updated industry standards. The newly codified standards will now become enforceable regulation.

NOIA President Randall Luthi said: “NOIA welcomes the common-sense approach by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement in improving the Oil and Gas Production Safety System regulations. The revisions develop a rule that reduces unnecessary burdens placed on industry, while still maintaining world-class safety and environmental protections. We have a rule that is not a safety rollback, but instead incorporates modern technological advances.”

To view the final rule,


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