The US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement will launch a pilot risk-based inspection program for offshore oil and gas facilities, the US Department of the Interior agency reported. The pilot will complement its existing inspections and audits, it said on Dec. 7.
“By focusing on facilities based upon their risk factors, BSEE can more efficiently and effectively manage limited inspection and audit resources,” BSEE Director Brian Salerno said.
An offshore facility’s risk factors include design, operating, and environmental characteristics, which may correlate to a greater likelihood of its experiencing an incident an incident, Salerno said. “However, it does not mean that the facility has a bad safety record or is a poor safety performer, only that certain risk factors are present that must be managed,” he noted.
Salerno said the program will take a systematic approach relying on both a quantitative model and qualitative performance and risk-related data. It will be conducted in addition to BSEE’s current inspections and audits. These include inspections of production facilities, rigs, and drilling operations under BSEE’s National Inspection Program, as well as Safety and Environmental Management Systems (SEMS) audits.
BSEE will use performance and compliance data collected from the annual inspections and SEMS audits, as well as incident investigations and other reportable safety information to help identify higher-risk offshore production operations. Factors such as the size of the facility and the production of hydrogen sulfide also will be considered, the agency indicated.
Operators of facilities selected for participation in this pilot program will be notified in the coming weeks, it said. BSEE will identify five facilities using the model, and then send an inspection team to conduct focused inspections and reviews.
“BSEE’s inspection teams will be focusing on several risk areas or operations,” Salerno said. “We will be taking a deeper look into how operators implement and support their safety readiness programs.”
Once a team completes its inspection and review, it will discuss areas needing attention and improvement with the operator, BSEE said. It then will ask the operator to develop an action plan to address identified areas.
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