In using these entities, BSEE should take care not to abrogate its primary ultimate responsibility for regulation of offshore drilling. In the United Kingdom, the regulator periodically audits the well examination arrangements. In addition, BSEE should develop requirements for determining the competence of examiners and their independence from the operating company. BSEE should also identify responsibilities for developing well examination schemes, ensuring scheme effectiveness, and ensuring that appropriate actions are taken on recommendations made by the well examiner.
Summary Recommendation 6.14: Industry, BSEE, and other regulators should improve corporate and industrywide systems for reporting safety-related incidents. Reporting should be facilitated by enabling anonymous or “safety privileged” inputs. Corporations should investigate all such reports and disseminate their lessons-learned findings in a timely manner to all their operating and decision-making personnel and to the industry as a whole. A comprehensive lessons-learned repository should be maintained for industrywide use. This information can be used for training in accident prevention and continually improving standards.7
As part of this process, near misses and accident precursors should be tracked as a way of supporting a proactive risk management system. Such a database would be invaluable in enabling regulators, companies, and employees to learn from these occurrences.
Integration of Regulatory Approaches
Summary Recommendation 6.15: A single U.S. government agency should be designated with responsibility for ensuring an integrated approach for system safety for all offshore drilling activities.
Recommendation 6.16: As a first step, DOI should work with other departments and agencies with jurisdiction over some aspect of offshore drilling activities to simplify and streamline the regulatory process for drilling on the U.S. outer continental shelf.
Offshore drilling operations are currently governed by a number of agencies with complementary and in some cases overlapping areas of statutory responsibility. Table 6-1 lists a number of the principal agencies that have jurisdiction over regulating various potential hazards related to offshore drilling.
7This recommendation is also presented in Chapter 5 as Recommendation 5.4.