BP to impose voluntary offshore drilling safety standards

“We have established strong new safety and environmental standards that all operators are required to meet in order to operate on the Outer Continental Shelf,” BOEMRE Director Michael Bromwich said in a statement. “We welcome additional safety steps and best practices that companies may decide to implement that are in addition to the requirements that are applied across the board."
BP’s announcement comes one year to the day after the company announced that it had been able to stop the flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico from its Macondo well. About 4.9 million barrels of oil gushed into the Gulf in the three months it took the company to halt the flow.

Here’s a summary of BP’s voluntary guidelines, via a statement from the company:

1. BPXP will use, and will require its contractors involved in drilling operations to use, subsea blowout preventers (BOPs) equipped with no fewer than two blind shear rams and a casing shear ram on all drilling rigs under contract to BPXP for deepwater service operating in dynamic position mode. With respect to moored drilling rigs under contract to BPXP for deepwater drilling service using subsea BOPs, the subsea BOP will be equipped with two shear rams, which will include at least one blind shear ram and either an additional blind shear ram or a casing shear ram.

2. Each time a subsea BOP from a moored or dynamically-positioned drilling rig is brought to the surface and testing and maintenance on the BOP are conducted, BPXP will require that a third party verify that the testing and maintenance of the BOP were performed in accordance with manufacturer recommendations and industry recommended practice (API RP 53).

3. BPXP will require that laboratory testing of cement slurries for primary cementing of casing and exposed hydrocarbon-bearing zones relating to drilling operations of deepwater wells be conducted or witnessed by a BPXP engineer competent to evaluate such laboratory testing, or a competent third party independent of the cement provider. BPXP will provide laboratory results to the applicable BOEMRE field office within a reasonable period of time.

4. BPXP's Oil Spill Response Plan (OSRP) will include information about enhanced measures for responding to a spill in open water, near-shore response and shoreline spill response based on lessons learned from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.