Offshore Safety Standards

The oil and natural gas industry has the technology to safely and efficiently tap our rich offshore energy resources — and the standards in place to ensure energy development is cleaner, safer and more efficient.

The Deepwater Horizon incident was tragic.  Besides the loss of lives and direct damages incurred, the oil and gas industry itself saw the loss of 20,000 jobs and millions in lost government revenue.   The industry has learned from this tragedy, and has formed two task forces to address both short- and long-term issues related to offshore equipment and offshore operating practices, and is coordinating with the independent presidential commission investigating the spill.

In all, the industry has invested nearly $100 billion in emerging technologies that allow offshore operations to be cleaner, safer and more efficient.  (Energy Tomorrow: http://www.energytomorrow.com/issues/environment/)

Some of the new technologies contributing to the safety of our shorelines include

  • "Smart pig" in-line inspection tools travel inside pipelines scanning for problems before they occur, thus contributing to safe and reliable operations.  
  • Aircraft equipped with infrared photography can locate pipeline problems before leaks occur.
  • Electronic navigation used by tankers with side scan and multi-beam sonar technologies map shipping lanes and other waterways to enhance safety.
  • Physical Oceanographic Real-Time System (PORTS) is being implemented in major U.S. ports to help vessels use the Internet to monitor oceanographic and meteorological data to move energy supplies safely and efficiently.

The standard and regulations are more stringent here than in any other pace in the world. And the industry will continue to develop strict standards for offshore safety to protect  the environment.  Many can be found here, and topics range from seismic design procedures and criteria for offshore structures to specs for subsurface safety valve equipment, to the analysis, design, installation and testing of basic surface safety systems on offshore platforms.

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