"Lessons Learned" following Macondo - Safety Enhancement on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf
- J.G. Lantz (United States Coast Guard) | Patrick Little (United States Coast Guard) | John Nadeau | Joshua Reynolds (United States Coast Guard)
- Document ID
- Offshore Technology Conference
- Offshore Technology Conference, 30 April-3 May, Houston, Texas, USA
- Publication Date
- Document Type
- Conference Paper
- Not subject to copyright. This document was prepared by governmentemployees or with government funding that places it in the public domain.
- 2.1.7 Deepwater Completions, 4.6 Natural Gas, 4.5 Offshore Facilities and Subsea Systems, 1.6 Drilling Operations, 4.2 Pipelines, Flowlines and Risers, 6.1.4 HSSE standards, regulations and codes, 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 6.1.5 Human Resources, Competence and Training, 4.9 Facilities Operations
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The Coast Guard is responsible for protecting the marine environment, promotingthe safety of life and property, and ensuring security on the U.S. OuterContinental Shelf (OCS). Based on authorities provided under the OuterContinental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA), the Coast Guard regulates facilities,MODUs, and vessels engaged in or supporting OCS activities. The tragic loss oflife and environmental disaster resulting from the Macondo incident in April2010 focused significant attention on the U.S. OCS, where industry employs tensof thousands of U.S. mariners and offshore workers on over 4,100 U.S. andforeign flagged facilities and vessels engaged in oil and gas exploration andproduction activities.
Though the Macondo incident was not initiated by failures within areas of CoastGuard jurisdiction and the Coast Guard-regulated safety systems generallyperformed well under the extreme conditions, the Coast Guard is reviewing itsregulatory construct and seeking "lessons learned" from this tragic incident. Acontemporary and effective regulatory regime needs to be maintained andconsistently applied to all vessels and facilities engaged in operations on theU.S. OCS.
This paper discusses the Coast Guard's regulatory approach for effectivelymitigating the risk to people, property, and the environment on the U.S.continental shelf. It includes recent work to keep pace with the rapidlyevolving technology employed on the OCS and efforts to ensure contemporary andsensible safety standards are promulgated and enforced.
U.S. Coast Guard Authority and Regulatory Construct on the OCS
The U.S. Coast Guard, within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), hasbroad authority under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) to regulatethe safety of life and property on facilities and vessels engaged in OCSactivities, and the safety of navigation. In addition, the Coast Guard isresponsible for promoting workplace safety and health by enforcing requirementsrelated to personnel, workplace activities, and conditions and equipment on theU.S. OCS. The Coast Guard is also responsible for security regulations on OCSfacilities, as specified under the Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA),and has select duties for regulating deepwater ports as enumerated in theDeepwater Ports Act (DPA), as amended. Other regulatory agencies, such as theBureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) also share jurisdictionover OSC activities. This paper will focus primarily on the Coast Guard role inregulating the safety of facilities and vessels engaged in OCS activities.
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