API board approve industry offshore safety center

Nick Snow
OGJ Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC, Mar. 18 -- The board of the American Petroleum Institute endorsed industry steps to create a Center for Offshore Safety (COS) at its spring meeting on Mar. 17. The center, to be based in Houston, will be open to all companies exploring and producing oil and natural gas in deep water.

The center will promote the highest level of offshore safety through a program which addresses management, practices, coordination, and teamwork; and which relies on independent third-party auditing and verification, API Pres. Jack N. Gerard said. “The board directed API to further develop the operation framework and timeline for the center, working with other industry stakeholders, to enhance industry safety and environmental performance,” he noted.

The board’s action follows API’s August 2010 testimony and its October 2010 letter to US President Barack Obama’s independent oil spill commission, regarding the industry’s review of five other safety programs, including the British Step Change in Safety, the US chemical industry’s Responsible Care Program, the Institute for Nuclear Power Operations, the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Voluntary Protection Program, and the Safety Case Regime for international operators, according to API.

API said COS will draw on lessons learned from successful, existing safety programs; apply those programs’ best elements to the unique challenges offshore oil and gas operations pose; and rely on independent auditing and reviews. Its focus will be based on API’s Recommended Practice 75 (RP 75), covering safety and environmental systems. The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement recently incorporated RP 75 into federal regulations.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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