Page 14: of Marine News Magazine (November 2016)
Safety is a key mission for BSEE, and BSEE pushed BSEE talks about the “development of safer technolo- the requirement of each company having a Safety gies,” but how are you facilitating that development? and Environmental Management System in order to
The offshore energy industry is extremely innovative. forward that goal. Tell us why you believe SEMS im-
New technologies are continually developed, and many of proves safety.
these technologies have the potential to make the offshore
SEMS is an ongoing story that is yielding continuous working environment safer. One of BSEE’s mandates is to improvement. However, it is still in the maturation phase make sure that the offshore industry is using the “Best Avail- for many companies. The requirement to implement a able and Safest Technology.” BSEE’s BAST program is the
SEMS became effective in 2011 and was further re? ned regulatory program that identi? es and assesses proven tech- in 2013. The SEMS regulation is aimed at changing the nologies on the Outer Continental Shelf. The BAST pro- dynamic between operators and regulators from one of gram receives technical assistance from BSEE’s Engineering compliance checking to one of performance measurement. Technology Assessment Center. ETAC provides BSEE’s
The difference is that a performance requirement puts headquarters, region and district of? ces with consulting ownership of the means to achieve the expected level of expertise, value-added solutions, and the comprehensive safety performance on the operator. This changes how the review of newly developed and emerging technologies. The operator approaches its regulatory responsibilities, because work performed by the staff at the Engineering Technology having ? exibility to select the means of operation requires Assessment Center does not impact the permitting approv- that you think about what you are going to do today, and al process for industry but it does help everyone involved rethink it tomorrow, instead of just relying on compliance identify the strengths and weaknesses of new technology. checklists. As the industry and BSEE have gained more ex- perience with this approach, we are seeing quicker identi? -
Oil Spill Preparedness and an Environmental Focus cation of issues that need to be addressed, as well as deeper go hand in hand. How is BSEE helping to improve the commitments to act on those issues. technologies associated with spill response – here in the Gulf and in the Arctic, as well?
Research is another BSEE mission. Where does this BSEE aggressively maintains a comprehensive, long-term research extend and give us an example of an off- research program dedicated to improving oil spill response shore success in that regard.
options. BSEE’s Ohmsett facility, the largest oil spill re-
BSEE actively conducts research and evaluates current sponse test facility in North America, includes a 667-foot and emerging technologies for operations ranging from test tank that contains 2.6 million gallons of saltwater main- the drilling of oil and gas exploration wells to the removal tained at open ocean salinity. A computer controlled wave of platforms and related infrastructure. The research ef- generator at one end of the tank creates waves up to 3 feet forts are part of our ongoing effort to reduce risks across high, while an adjustable wave-damping ‘beach’ system at all offshore operations. BSEE’s Technology Assessment the opposite end of the tank helps control the shape of the
Program (TAP), which operates through contracts with waves. Researchers can tow equipment through the water universities, private ? rms, and government laboratories, at speeds up to 6 knots, simulating a vessel towing oil spill evaluates safety-related technologies. TAP has adminis- response equipment such as booms and skimmers. With tered nearly 900 research and development projects since the potential for increased oil production in, and transport its inception. BSEE has aggressively maintained a compre- through, Arctic regions, BSEE decided to fund the develop- hensive, long-term research program dedicated to improv- ment of a new skimmer – one that could more ef? ciently ing industry’s ability to respond to oil spills. The major fo- recover oil in icy waters. Named the IceHorse, this skimmer cus of research in this area is improvement of the methods is designed to travel under ice, surface when it reaches bro- and technologies used for oil spill detection, containment, ken ice, and collect oil from places where water and ice form treatment, recovery and cleanup. We engage in coopera- a patchwork. It was engineered to add systems that allow it tive efforts that bringing together funding and expertise to maneuver both at the water surface and underwater. from research partners in government agencies, industry and the international community to advance the ability
Beyond the regulatory aspect of BSEE’s mission, they of industry to quickly respond should a spill occur. We are also tasked with ‘Risk Assessments.’ How does that work and who do you partner with make that sort conduct unannounced inspections to make sure that every of thing happen?
offshore operator is ready to immediately deploy resources
BSEE is currently exploring the idea of risk-based in- in the event of a spill.
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