National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA) president Randall Luthi joined American Petroleum Institute (API) president and CEO Jack Gerard and International Association of Drilling Contractors (IADC) president and CEO Stephen Coleville this morning to discuss improvements in offshore safety since the Macondo Well accident five years ago.
Luthi highlighted the importance of offshore safety, addressing many of the safety enhancements and industry measures that have been adopted since April 20, 2010.
“No well is worth the loss of a life, and [the Macondo] tragedy claimed 11. They are husbands, fathers, sons and brothers who never came home,” Luthi said.
He continued, “The oil and natural gas industry reacted quickly in the wake of this accident. Operators, service companies and many others made their personnel and equipment available to assist in response and cleanup efforts. . . The offshore energy industry took the lessons learned and quickly applied them to the development of enhanced surface response capability and the development of subsurface containment systems. Industry invested in two deepwater containment systems -- the Marine Well Containment Company (MWCC) system and the HWCG containment system. Both can operate in water depths up to 10,000 feet, cap an incident well, and process 100,000 barrels of liquids per day and 200 million cubic feet of gas per day. These equipment resources stand ready to respond today.
“We have also seen a plethora of final and proposed regulations. These include rules on Safety and Environmental Management Systems (SEMS), dynamic positioning, Arctic safety, an upcoming BOP and well control rule and a re-emphasis on an industry- wide safety culture. More regulation does not necessarily guarantee a safer environment, but particularly in past few years we have seen the regulators and industry reach out to each other to better understand what is expected and what can be done to improve safety offshore. This level of cooperation sets a firm basis for enhanced safety and it is our goal that the communication lines remain open.
“While America’s offshore energy industry holds one of the best safety incident rates, the Macondo tragedy is a stark reminder that producing energy is not without risk. It is the responsibility of everyone in the oil and gas industry to reduce that risk each and every day. While we talk a lot in DC, and talk a lot about safety, it is the offshore workers and their companies that walk the walk of safety.
“Are offshore oil and gas operations considered safer than five years ago? Most say yes. What is the effect of new and pending safety regulations? That remains to be seen; in many cases, industry is still sorting out new requirements. What I can say is that safety is the first priority offshore, and industry will always strive to continue improving. Since 1978, NOIA has recognized safety accomplishments through its Safety in Seas Awards. Next week, we will present two such awards, a Safety Practice award and Culture of Safety award.”