New BP Drilling Standards
July 15th marked the one year anniversary of capping the runaway oil well in the Gulf of Mexico. The spill which began on April 20, 2010 was the largest oil rig spill in history.
On the one year anniversary, BP announced that it would implement a new set of deepwater oil and gas drilling standards for it’s Gulf of Mexico operation, "demonstrating the company’s commitment to safe and reliable operations.”
BP’s new voluntary performance standards go beyond current regulatory obligations.
"BP's commitment in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon incident is not only to restore the economic and environmental conditions among the affected areas of the Gulf Coast, but also to apply what we have learned to improve the way we operate," said BP group chief executive Bob Dudley. "We believe the commitments we have outlined today will promote greater levels of safety and preparedness in deepwater drilling."
BP’s new voluntary standards include:
1. BP will use and require it’s contractors to use subsea blowout preventers (BOPs) with no fewer than two blind shear rams and a casing shear ram for rigs in dynamic position mode. Moored rigs will require subsea BOPs with two shear rams including at least one blind shear ram and either an additional blind shear ram or a casing shear ram.
2. Whenever a BOP is brought to the surface for testing and maintenance, BP will require third party verification of the testing & maintenance.
3. BP will require that lab testing of cement slurries used for primary cementing of casings be witnessed by a BP engineer competent to evaluate such lab testing or an independent third party. BP will provide lab results to the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE)
4. BP’s Oil Spill Response Plan will include responding to a spill in open water, near-shore response and shoreline spill response based on lessons learned from the Deepwater Horizon spill.
In addition to those four voluntary performance standards, BP reports that it has implemented several additional changes: They have established a real-time drilling op center in Houston. They are collaborating with groups like Clean Gulf Associated and Marine Spill Response Corporation to enhance industry response. BP also supports the Marine Well Containment Company with knowledge, equipment and staff. They are collaborating with BOEMRE, Ocean Energy Safety Advisory Committee, Center for Offshore Safety and others in a joint technology program focused on BOP systems.