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Friday, April 19, 2019

Environmental Enforcement News

© Anatoly Menzhiliy / Adobe Stock

Tightening Noose: Venezuela's Crisis Deepens

The news that Venezuela's PDVSA has diverted a crude tanker from Curacao after ConocoPhillips moves to satisfy a $2 billion arbitration award signals that worst may be yet to come. Reuters is reporting that Venezuela's state-run PDVSA ordered a tanker waiting to discharge at its Curacao terminal to divert to Venezuelan waters after ConocoPhillips introduced an order in a Caribbean court to seize its inventories and other assets in the island, according to a shipper and Reuters data on Tuesday.

DoJ looks back at 2016

The Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division has announced  the publication of its accomplishments in 2016, documenting one of the most successful years in its history of over a century, including the highest recoveries in environmental enforcement, record-setting recoveries in natural resource damages, and the highest criminal penalties handed down in individual vessel pollution and Lacey Act trafficking cases. “I am extremely proud and grateful to have led the men and women of this division through a landmark year in its long history of protecting…

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BSEE Panel for Oil Release in GoM

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement is continuing its investigation of the oil release from Shell Offshore Inc.’s Glider Field on May 12. The Glider Field, located approximately 97 miles south of Port Fourchon, LA, includes subsea wells and the field’s production flows to the Brutus Platform. BSEE Gulf of Mexico Regional Director Lars Herbst formally established an Investigative Panel May 16. The seven-member panel is comprised of BSEE engineers, inspectors, and investigators.

Oil sheen location Photo BSEE

BSEE, USCG Respond Oil Spill in GoM

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) and the U.S. Coast Guard are responding to a two mile by thirteen mile sheen in the Gulf of Mexico, approximately 97 miles south of Port Fourchon, LA. The offshore oil and gas operator, Shell Offshore Inc., reported that a sheen was observed in the area of its Glider Field, a group of four subsea wells located in Green Canyon Block 248. The production from these four wells flows through a subsea manifold to Shell’s Brutus platform located in 2,900 feet of water.

BSEE Director Salerno and USCG Rear Admiral Thomas Discuss information Sharing and Joint Operations at OTC

BSEE, USCG on Sharing Information, Jt Ops

Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) Director Brian Salerno and U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral Paul Thomas participated in a luncheon panel discussion today ​at the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC)  in Houston. The discussion focused on topics relevant to joint inspections of offshore facilities and other offshore regulatory issues. Center for Offshore Safety Executive Director Charlie Williams hosted and moderated the session on the final day of OTC. The Director…

NOIA Awards Image NOIA

Oceaneering Wins NOIA Safety Award

The National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA) today named Oceaneering International, Inc. as the recipient of the 2016 Safety-in-Seas (SIS) Safety Practice Award. Kevin McEvoy, CEO of Oceaneering International, accepted the award at the NOIA annual meeting in Washington, DC. “We are very pleased to be selected for this prestigious recognition. Through rigorous risk analysis with our customer, we developed multiple redundant, fail-safe systems to safely conduct these complex subsea operations in deep water,” said Kevin McEvoy, CEO of Oceaneering International, Inc.

Technip USA Wins NOIA Safety Award

The National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA) presented Technip USA, Inc. with the 2016 NOIA Safety in Seas (SIS) Culture of Safety Award today during the association’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C. Technip USA won the Culture of Safety Award in recognition of Technip’s Pulse program, a global vehicle for HSE climate change through leadership and communication. “We are honored and delighted to have been selected as the winner of the NOIA 2016 Culture of Safety Award. HSE is essential to our industry and is an absolute priority for Technip.

Courtesy BSEE

BSEE, NASA to Examine Offshore Risks

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) and The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) have announced a five-year agreement allowing BSEE to capitalize on the best risk management approaches from the aeronautics industry to inform stakeholders and further strengthen worker and environmental safety protections on the Outer Continental Shelf. “Both BSEE and NASA work in harsh and uncompromising environments, relying on cutting edge technology to go deeper and further than previously thought possible,” said BSEE Director Brian Salerno.

BSEE Gulf of Mexico Region Director Lars Herbst has formally established an Investigative Panel. Image BSEE

BSEE Panel to Probe Offshore Fatality

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) continues its investigation into the March 10, 2016 death in the Gulf of Mexico of Roy Miller, a Nabors Drilling offshore worker. The fatal injury took place on the Nabors platform rig during maintenance activities for Whistler Energy LLC. "My heartfelt condolences go out to the family of Roy Miller," said BSEE Director Brian Salerno. "Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time. BSEE Gulf of Mexico Region Director Lars Herbst has formally established an Investigative Panel.

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School Students Win Offshore Challenge Prize at UH

Today, a team of eight students from West Side High School in Houston emerged victorious from the first annual High School Offshore and Technology Stars Challenge, which was co-hosted by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) and the Ocean Energy Safety Institute (OESI) at the University of Houston. Other participating schools include Energy Institute High School, Charles H. Milby High School and Young Women’s Preparatory Academy. BSEE Director Brian Salerno welcomed the students to the Technology Challenge, with a strong message of encouragement for the young competitors.

Workshop Participants Photo BSEE

BSEE Participates in Circumpolar Gap Analysis Workgroup

Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement staff from the Oil Spill Preparedness Division attended an international workshop last month that focused on how Arctic meteorological and oceanographic conditions can affect traditional oil spill response strategies. The Arctic Council​'s​ Emergency Prevention, Preparedness, and Response working group approved a project in late 2014 to study the effects of environmental factors such as wind, temperature, sea state, and ice coverage on traditional oil spill response tactics.

Oil Spill Response Research & Renewable Energy Test Facility Courtesy BSEE

Technology Readiness Levels Defined for Oil Spill Response

Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) staff participated in a workgroup meeting at the bureau's Ohmsett facility in Leonardo, N.J., as part of the workgroup’s efforts to define Technology Readiness Levels for use in the oil spill response community. BSEE staff discussed the criteria that could be used to determine the readiness of technology with equipment manufacturers, industry, and facility representatives, drawing from their different perspectives and expertise.

MSV Fennica. Photo by Arctia Shipping

Shell Readies to Drill in Arctic, Seeks Modified Permit

Shell has informed the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) that it is set to restart its controversial hunt for Arctic oil, three years after the company’s last ill-fated venture north, reports The Guardian. “Fennica, the safety vessel and icebreaker, is in the Chukchi Sea, drilling continues, and we have requested the permit to drill deeper in this exploration well,” said a spokeswoman for the company. Meanwhile, Royal Dutch Shell PLC has applied to amend…

Well Site Supervisor Sentenced for Lying to BSEE Officials

A Houston man was sentenced for making false statements to Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) inspectors in relation to the veracity of blowout preventer testing on an offshore oil and gas platform, the United States Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of Louisiana announced. U.S. District Judge Helen G. Berrigan sentenced Race Addington, 49, of Houston, Texas to one year probation and 40 hours of community service. Addington, a well site supervisor for a platform in the Gulf of Mexico…

Photo: Greenpeace Finland

US Senators Want a Stop to Arctic Drilling

Eighteen U. S. senators have urged the Obama’s administration to halt Shell’s Arctic drilling plans saying that it is an unacceptable and irresponsible decision, says a report in Reuters. Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley, joined by seventeen other Senators, has urged the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) to halt all offshore oil and gas drilling permits in the Arctic region. “Opening development on a new fossil fuel reservoir in the Arctic not only puts the natural resources…

Brian Salerno

BSEE Dir. Salerno to Address Offshore Technology Conference

Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) Director Brian Salerno will be traveling to Houston for the 2015 Offshore Technology Center May4-7 at NRG Park. The annual conference is an international gathering showcasing leading‐edge technology for offshore drilling, exploration, production, and environmental protection. Director Salerno will be discussing the bureau’s advancements in reducing risk offshore. 1:00 p.m. 7:30 a.m. 2:00 p.m. What: OTC Luncheon with the Center…

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SEACOR Marine Sweeps NOIA SIS Awards

The National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA) today presented SEACOR Marine with the 2015 NOIA Safety in Seas (SIS) Culture of Safety Award and Safety Practice Award. This is the first time the same company has won awards in the same year. NOIA added the Culture of Safety award to the competition in 2014. SEACOR Marine won the Culture of Safety Award for their safety culture model which spurred a seven year trend of declining total number of Lost Time Incidents, Medical Treatment Incidents…

Steve Benz, president and CEO, MSRC

Interview: Oil Spill Repsonse Insights from MSRC's Benze: Steven T. Benz, President and CEO, Marine Spill Response Corporation (MSRC)

As President and CEO of MSRC, Steve Benz presides over the largest oil spill response company in the United States (and worldwide). In that position since January 1996, he has during that tenure, overseen several critical phases in the Company’s evolution. These include a major restructuring in the late 1990s to make it more competitive; growth throughout the 2000-2009 period, including acquisition of several companies; leadership in overseeing MSRC’s role in responding to the 2010 BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico…

Location of Echo Platform

BSEE Responds to Explosion in Gulf of Mexico

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) is responding to an explosion at West Delta 105 in the Gulf of Mexico, approximately 12 miles off the coast of New Orleans. The offshore oil and gas operator, Fieldwood Energy, reported the explosion on its Echo Platform just before 3pm this afternoon. The operator has reported that there is one fatality and three others being treated at an onshore medical facility as a result of the incident. The Echo Platform was not in production at the time of the incident.

NAMEPA Announces Environmental Award Winners

The Board of Directors of the North American Marine Environment Protection Association (NAMEPA), announced the recipients of NAMEPA’s 2014 Marine Environment Protection Awards. The awards will be presented at NAMEPA’s Awards Dinner to be held in New York in conjunction with their New York Conference on October 29. Titan Salvage is the winner of the Corporate Award. When notified, Senior VP Todd Busch stated, “We at Titan are very proud to be honored with this award. It supports…

Michael Wilson (left) and Jim Watson

Wilson, Watson to Keynote SHIPPINGInsight 2014

Maritime industry executives Captain Michael Wilson and Jim Watson are keynote speakers for SHIPPINGInsight 2014, North America’s premier maritime industry technical forum, Sept. 30 through Oct. 2, 2014 in Stamford, Conn., at the Sheraton Stamford Hotel. Wilson, president of Laurin Maritime (Americas) Inc. and chief operating officer of Laurin Maritime, and Watson, president and chief operating officer of ABS Americas, will be the lead speakers at SHIPPINGInsight’s Fleet Optimization Conference & Exhibition on Oct. 1 and 2.

File Photo: ADM Brian Salerno (ret.), Now BSEE Director

BSEE's Salerno Visits Arctic Challenger, USCG, ABS Leaders

On February 20 and 21, 2014 Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) Director Brian Salerno and BSEE Alaska Region Director Mark Fesmire traveled to Bellingham, Wash. to meet with senior leaders from the U.S. Coast Guard and the American Bureau of Shipping and see first-hand Shell's containment system aboard the Arctic Challenger. Director Salerno and Alaska Region Director Fesmire also visited with Coast Guard representatives at the Coast Guard's District headquarters in Seattle.

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The Importance and Value of Marine Industry Training

The Coast Guard Marine Industry Training Program offers incredible opportunities for Coast Guard employees to intimately learn specific facets of the marine industry. Participants of the program work directly for industry partners for up to 1 year. In addition to building superior government/industry working relationships, the program affords industry sponsors an opportunity to share detailed business considerations and limitations, so that Coast Guard regulatory activities most effectively promote safety, while limiting undue burden on the maritime industry.

BSEE Extends Comment Period for Proposed Offshore Safety Systems Rule

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) announced today a 45-day extension to the public comment period for the proposed rule on offshore oil and natural gas production safety systems. Comments will now be accepted through Dec. 5, 2013. The proposed rule will revise 30 CFR 250 subpart H, Oil and Gas Production Safety Systems, to address recent technological advances. This section of the regulations has not had a major revision since it was first published in 1988.

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US Outer Continental Shelf: New Vessel Safety & Environment Rules Proposed

The U.S. Coast Guard herald the publication of an advance notice of proposed rulemaking to publicize regulations requiring vessels engaged in outer continental shelf activities  to develop, implement and maintain a vessel-specific safety and environmental management system. The safety and environmental management system incorporates the management program and principles of American Petroleum Institute’s Recommended Practice for Development of a Safety and Environmental Management Program for Offshore Operations and Facilities, Third Edition, May 2004 (API RP 75).

Brian Salerno

Director Brian Salerno Sworn in at BSEE

Brian Salerno was sworn in on August 26 as the Director of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement. Salerno retired as a Vice Admiral in the U.S. Coast Guard in 2012, after more than 36 years of active duty service. He is the third Director in BSEE's history, following James Watson and Michael Bromwich. He stated to employees that, "It is an honor and a privilege to join you today at BSEE. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to serve as the BSEE Director and work alongside you in your efforts to ensure safe, secure, and environmentally sound offshore operations." bsee.gov