WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement has issued the final well control regulations.
Specifically, the final rule addresses the full range of systems and equipment related to well control operations, with a focus on BOP requirements, well design, well control casing, cementing, real-time monitoring, and subsea containment. The measures are designed to improve equipment reliability, especially for BOP and blowout prevention technologies.
According to the BSEE, the rule requires operability of equipment through rigorous testing and provides for the continuous oversight of operations, all with the goal of improving the reliability of equipment and systems to protect workers’ lives and the environment from the potentially devastating effects of blowouts and offshore oil spills.
The regulations combine prescriptive and performance-based measures to ensure that oil and gas companies and offshore rig operators are cultivating a greater culture of safety that minimizes risk.
Key features of the rule include requirements for BOPs, double shear rams, third-party reviews of equipment, real-time monitoring data, safe drilling margins, centralizers, inspection intervals, and other reforms related to well design and control, casing, cementing, and subsea containment.
The regulations build upon findings and recommendations from several investigations and reports concerning the root causes of Deepwater Horizon and consultation with industry groups, equipment manufacturers, federal agencies, academia, and environmental organizations.
Most of the requirements do not become effective until three months after publication of the final rule. Several requirements have more extended timeframes for compliance.