An ad hoc committee will identify options the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) could use for improving the implementation of the “best available and safest technologies” (BAST) requirement in the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act. As the committee develops options, it will review those options and issues that BSEE itself already is considering; examples of which include the feasibility and appropriateness of establishing a formal industry committee to make BAST determinations about new and improved technologies; whether it will need to develop test protocols for every technology it evaluates in order to fairly compare competing technologies; how to determine economic feasibility in a manner that is independent of industry; whether it should rely on the development of consensus standards; and whether it should initiate a more vigorous process with various possible improvements to blowout preventers. The committee will identify a range of options and the pros and cons of each, but it will not recommend a specific BAST implementation approach.
Following its initial meeting, the committee will prepare a brief report commenting on existing BSEE proposals to implement BAST. In developing its final report at the conclusion of its study, the committee will include consideration of the following:
• Other relevant safety requirements that bear upon technologies for offshore oil and gas operations;
• Relevant reports of previous NRC committees and other organizations;
• The potential role of neutral third parties in making BAST assessments;
• The role of human factors in the safe use of technologies by industry; and
• Resource requirements of federal agencies for BAST implementation.