The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

A Commitment to Safety

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted August 29, 2013

With the proviso that we’re still evaluating proposed new federal standards for offshore oil and natural gas production systems announced last week, the incorporation of a number of industry standards in the proposal is encouraging.

The 149-page proposal from the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) would update standards that haven’t been changed much since they were first published in 1988. Again, we’re analyzing the full document, but it mentions API standards including:

  • Quality assurance (page 15) – Says that safety and pollution prevention equipment (SPPE) that meets the API specification would be considered certified SPPE under the federal standard.

  • Basic surface safety systems.

  • Foam firefighting systems.

  • Electronic-based emergency shutdown systems.

  • Valve leakage rates.

  • Equipment used for high-temperature and high-pressure wells.

Fuel has more:

Bureau Director James Watson cast the proposal as a mix of “common-sense changes” that “will help regulations keep pace with changing technologies that have enabled the industry to explore and develop resources in deeper waters.” Those technologies include stronger alloys and equipment meant to withstand higher temperatures underground and stronger pressures under thousands of feet of water. Even close to shore, new technologies are being used to eke oil and gas from existing reservoirs. The proposed rule would apply to some 3,000 existing production facilities on the United States’ outer continental shelf …

BSEE is proposing that pollution prevention equipment be subject to “life-cycle analysis” – which, again, incorporates an API standard that is designed to ensure that equipment is ready in case of an emergency.

The oil and natural gas industry is committed to offshore safety – both in preventing incidents and being able to respond swiftly and appropriately if something should occur. BSEE’s incorporation of more than a dozen industry standards in its proposal recognizes this commitment.


Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.