COS report finds US offshore operations safer, can improve

The US offshore oil and gas industry is safer than ever, though there is still room to improve, according to the first annual performance report released Apr. 8 by the Center for Offshore Safety (COS).

The report, which is based on 2013 operations data collected from COS members, highlights metrics for conducting scheduled maintenance and inspections, as well as completing safety and environmental audits. Notably, COS found that there were zero fatalities or losses of well control in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico during more than 42 million work-hr in 2013.

“This is the first report off its kind to be published by US regulators or industry,” said COS Executive Director Charlie Williams. “America’s offshore oil and natural gas industry is even safer than before, but our goal will always be zero accidents and zero spills.”

Williams said that sharing data and lessons learned throughout the industry is fundamental to COS achieving its mission of enhancing safety. As long as there is room for improvement, the consortium’s work will not be complete.

The top three areas for improvement cited in the inaugural safety performance report are:

• Safe mechanical lifting, such as with cranes and hoists.

• Process safety, with emphasis on risk management, maintenance, inspection, and testing.

• Adherence to operating procedures and safe-work practices.

COS will use the report’s findings as a baseline for year-to-year comparisons to track improvement or regression. The 2015 report is available on the COS web site.

Based in Houston, COS was formed in 2012 to enhance safety in the deepwater US gulf. The association is open to all companies that operate in deepwater exploration and production. Its focus is based on API’s Recommended Practice 75, covering safety and environmental management systems that have been implemented into US federal offshore regulations (OGJ Online, Mar. 27, 2012).

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