OTC: BSEE director says industry on probation as far as public trust

Industry must cooperate and collaborate with a number of international stakeholders to achieve the highest safety standards offshore, Brian Salerno, director of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, told an Offshore Technology Conference breakfast May 6 in Houston.

Key offshore safety concerns include both international cooperation and a social license to operate, Salerno said. Noting that social license is not a commonly used US term, Salerno said public trust is very important.

“Five years after Macondo, I would say we’re all still on probation,” Salerno said of the April 2010 deepwater well blowout that resulted in a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. BP PLC operated the Macondo well.

He noted that some companies are very advanced in their safety culture, but industry has yet to reach a point when all companies strive for the highest safety standards.

“We have not reached the point where this is the expected normal,” Salerno said. He emphasized the development of safety standards to get to this level.

Jostein Dahl-Karlsen, a senior policy advisor for the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum, is the outgoing chairman of the Gas and Oil Technologies (GOT), which is an initiative started by the International Energy Agency.

GOT’s focus is to explore the strategic important of technology, Dahl-Karlsen said. Worldwide, 8-10 giant fields provide 80% of the oil and gas available today, he said, adding that technology will be needed to replace those volumes when those fields stop production.

“It’s not only the exploration,” efforts that are important, Dahl-Karlsen said, noting that US light, tight oil production has grown rapidly in recent years, but he expects future production growth will swing back toward deepwater reserves in future decades.

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

*Paula Dittrick is editor of OGJ’s Unconventional Oil & Gas Report.

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