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Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement

Brian Salerno, director of the federal Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement   at the Offshore Technology Conference at the NRG Center Thursday, May 7, 2015.  Gary Coronado / Houston Chronicle )

OTC: Offshore drilling regulators want industry input on ‘next steps’ for safety management programs

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The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement will hold a workshop on the issue on July 29 in Houston aimed at getting ideas for how to strengthen the safety and environmental management systems required of companies operating offshore.
Oceaneering International displays its remotely operated underwater vehicle at the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston on Monday. Oceaneering's ROVs took part in repairing damage at a blown-out well during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill five years ago.

OTC: Robots and automation offshore create new safety and cyber risks

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Increasing computerization and automation offshore open up the possibility of dangerous disruptions, driven by errant software updates and plugged-in flash drives. One incident has already taken place.
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OTC: Feds could soon take a closer look at who is, and who isn’t, fit to operate offshore

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The nation’s offshore drilling overseers are considering adopting a page out of Norway and Brazil’s playbooks — with a potential analysis of oil and gas firms’ “fitness to operate” on coastal waters.
Charlie Williams, Brian Salerno and Coast Guard Rear Adm. Joseph Servidio discuss safety during an OTC panel Thursday.

OTC Q&A: Top offshore drilling cop talks safety, risk and rules

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Too many accidents and near-misses are happening at oil and gas facilities in coastal waters, including at decades-old operations on the shallow continental shelf, said Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement Director Brian Salerno.
From the left: Charlie Williams, executive director of the Center for Offshore Safety; Brian Salerno, director of the Bureau and Safety Environmental Enforcement; and Rear Admiral Joe Servidio of the U.S. Coast Guard sit on a panel about offshore safety during the 2014 Offshore Technology Conference at NRG Park on May 8. (Patric Schneider/Houston Chronicle)

OTC: Feds launch confidential tipline for offshore problems, aiming to find small problems before they get big

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When accidents are narrowly averted at offshore oil and gas facilities, Uncle Sam wants to know about it. And now, there’s a new avenue for the government to get those tips, via a confidential near-miss reporting system unveiled at the Offshore Technology Conference on Tuesday.
In June, GE tested this prototype 20,000 psi ram blowout preventer at its Houston Technology Center. The 20ksi program also includes new wellheads, connectors, control systems, and riser systems. (GE Oil & Gas)

Feds unveil plan for keeping offshore oil wells in check five years after Gulf spill

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The measure codifies many of the steps that companies have already taken to better keep offshore wells in check, including more rigorous maintenance and testing of the blowout preventers that act as a last line of defense against uncontrolled surges of oil and gas.
The Polar Pioneer, a drilling rig contracted by Shell for Chukchi Sea exploration in 2015, is transported across the Pacific on the heavy-lift vessel Blue Marlin. (Photo: Vincenzo Floramo / Greenpeace)

Feds launch review of Shell’s Arctic drilling plan

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Federal regulators have begun a 30-day review of a broad plan that forms a framework for Shell to resume Arctic drilling this summer. The company also must obtain permits for each proposed well.
Visitors board the barge Arctic Challenger in Samish Bay. The Challenger has been retrofit to serve as the launchpad for an emergency containment system that Shell could use to counter a runaway subsea well in the Arctic. (Photo courtesy Greenpeace Investigations)

Shell conducts drills with Arctic oil spill response system

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Shell Oil Co. is conducting the testing for Obama administration officials as it plans a new round of exploratory drilling in the Chukchi Sea north of Alaska later this year.
(Eddie Seal/Bloomberg)

Feds: Market forces pushing offshore rig counts down

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The government’s top offshore energy overseers on Tuesday defended the Obama administration’s approach to oil and gas drilling along the nation’s coastlines, insisting that market forces — not federal regulations — were discouraging the activity.
Shell used the drillship Noble Discoverer for its 2012 drilling in the Chukchi Sea north of Alaska.  (Jennifer A. Dlouhy / The Houston Chronicle)

Feds weighing Shell bid for more time in Arctic

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Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said the Obama administration will decide soon whether to yield to Shell’s request for an extension of its Arctic drilling leases. Statoil and ConocoPhillips have made parallel requests for leases that will begin expiring in 2019.