DRILLBITS – April 2013
This Month’s Articles
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International Maritime Organization begins Deepwater Horizon casualty review
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) officially initiated its review of the Macondo incident during the 21st session of the Organization’s Subcommittee on Flag State Implementation on 4 to 8 March.
The group considered the marine investigation reports by the United States and the Republic of the Marshall Islands related to the explosions, fire and loss of the Deepwater Horizon rig. Several issues and considerations were identified relating to fire protection; design and equipment; stability; training; and oversight.
Pending endorsement by the IMO Maritime Safety Committee, the reports on the Macondo incident, as well as the analysis and comments of the subcommittee, will be forwarded to IMO technical subcommittees for more detailed review and action.
Alan Spackman, vice president of IADC’s Offshore Division, represented the association at the meeting. Warren Weaver of Transocean, and Tom Horan of Rowan Companies, also attended as members of the delegations of Vanuatu and the Marshall Islands, respectively.
Specific highlighted issues and recommendations forwarded for further consideration are:
• gas detectors installed in the ventilation inlets and other critical locations were not set to automatically activate the emergency (ESD) system that would cause the engines to stop the flow of outside air into the engine rooms;
• the design of the main and emergency power sources did not adequately take into account that the proximity of the air inlets to each other created a risk that flammable gases could impact all six generators at once;
• the MODU did not have sufficient barriers to provide effective protection for the crew and one should consider conducting an explosion risk analysis to determine whether the barriers around a MODU’s accommodation areas, escape paths and embarkation stations provide adequate protection.
• the main fire system depended exclusively on electric motor-driven fire pumps and was rendered useless when the explosions caused a total loss of power;
• the spread of the fire after the explosions was not limited by the “A-class bulkheads” on the MODU;
• consider implementing clearer requirements for labeling and control of electrical equipment in hazardous areas and the continued inspection, repair, and maintenance of such electrical equipment;
• consider providing more detailed guidance for the design and arrangement of gas detection and alarm systems that will also identify recommended automatic and manual emergency shutdown actions to be performed following gas detection in vital areas;
• consider that ventilation inlets for machinery spaces containing power sources should be located as far as possible from hazardous locations;
• consider installation of a fixed water deluge system to fight fires on or near the Drill Floor, which may automatically activate upon gas detection;
• consider the installation of hydrocarbon fire-resistant bulkheads between the drilling area, adjacent accommodation spaces, and spaces housing vital safety equipment; and
• consider implementing standards on the maximum allowable heat exposure for personnel at the muster stations and lifeboat/liferaft lowering stations.
Design and equipment:
• the current lifeboat design and testing requirements did not adequately ensure the safe loading of a stretcher or permitted adequate seating to accommodate the physical build of the average offshore worker;
• the liferaft launch area had no effective barrier to shield it from the intense heat of the fire that threatened to incinerate the liferaft;
• consider equipping MODUs with a non-electrically powered fire pump to provide fire main pressure during a loss of electrical power; and
• consider the need for a fast rescue boat/craft on board MODUs.
• massive quantities of water were directed towards the MODU without careful consideration of the potential effects of water entering the hull; and
• rig owner’s personnel engaged in the emergency response were not familiar with the vessel response plan and deviated from it in their selection of a salvage company.
• the dual-command organizational structure under which the offshore installation manager was in charge when the vessel was latched onto the well, while the master was in charge when the MODU was underway between locations or in an emergency situation, led to a command confusion at a critical point at the time of the emergency and may have impacted the decision to activate the emergency disconnect system;
• the onboard management team and crew had insufficient training and knowledge to take full responsibility for the safety of the vessel;
• consider requiring the crew to practice launching liferafts during evacuation drills; and
• consider the importance of clearly designating a person in charge under both operating and emergency conditions for MODUs.
• consider evaluating the need to require flag States to audit classification societies acting on their behalf as Recognized Organizations and the development of a code of conduct for Recognized Organizations; and
• consider developing a communication system between the relevant flag and coastal State regulatory bodies to address issues regarding units operating within the coastal State’s jurisdiction.
For more information, please contact Alan Spackman at ext. 207 (Alan.Spackman@iadc.org).
Organizations seek guidance on the US Foreign Corrupt Policy Act
IADC, along with 32 other organizations and associations, drafted a letter to the US Department of Justice and the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on 19 February seeking clarity on the enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
A Resource Guide to the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, was issued on 14 November, 2012, and provides a single central source of information for compliance offers and others in regard to the views of the Department and SEC.
The signatories identified several areas of concern with the document and requested that the established dialogue continue in order to address noted issues. Signees also requested guidance regarding how compliance programs should be structured in order to merit favorable consideration in enforcement decisions.
For more information, please contact Brian Petty at (Brian.Petty@iadc.org).
Latin American Forum attendees weigh in on energy and environment
IADC’s Brenda Kelly, senior director, program development, participated in the Latin American Forum on Energy and Environment at the University of Texas at Austin’s Jackson School of Geosciences on 4-5 March.
The forum aims to strengthen relationships between the energy and enrivonmental sectors in Latin America, the Caribbean and the US.
This year’s meeting, the eighth time the forum has convened, offered a space for the policy makers, academics and industry leaders in attendance to share ideas about careful stewardship of environmental and energy resources.
Topics discussed at this year’s forum included the technical challenges of unconventional resources, a legal perspective on oil and gas investment in Latin America, geological and technical challenges of monetization of deep-water Gulf of Mexico resources, the challenges and opportunities in Trinidad and Tobago and the nexus of the environment, renewables and water, among others.
“My presentation showcasing IADC’s strategy to enhance operational integrity through people, equipment and processes sparked interest in collaborating on regional training initiatives to better equip local personnel for the deepwater drilling challenges and called attention to IADC initiatives that could benefit the industry,”said Ms. Kelly.
For more information, please contact Brenda Kelly at ext. 201 (Brenda.Kelly@iadc.org).
North Sea countries reach agreement on safety standards
The Norwegian Oil and Gas Association, NOGEPA (the Netherlands), Oil and Gas UK and Olie Gas Danmark (Denmark) worked collaboratively to develop an agreement on safety training that has validity across borders.
In the agreement, signed 15 February, members agreed to recognize safety training given in each of the other countries and to accept training schools and courses approved by the other national associations. The goal of all the participating groups is to develop a common standard that prepares the workforce to achieve a high level of competence in basic safety and emergency preparedness across northwest Europe.
Jens Hoffmark, IADC’s regional vice president, European operations, participated in the NOIA workgroup that has worked to harmonize basic training around the North Sea.
For more information, contact Mr Hoffmark (Jens.Hoffmark@iadc.org).
IADC hires Rhett Winter as director of Onshore Operations
Onshore drilling operations have been increasing steadily resulting in the need for additional IADC staff to support onshore members.
As part of its efforts to meet the regulatory, operations and HSE needs of the onshore industry, IADC’s Onshore Division has hired Rhett Winter as director, onshore operations.
Rhett has field experience as a roughneck, derrickman and driller. He has a Bachelor of Science from Texas A&M University. He joins Paul Breaux, who was recently promoted to director, onshore HSE, and Joe Hurt,vice president, onshore division.
Rhett can be contacted at ext. 235 (Rhett.Winter@iadc.org).
IADC joins industry associations to challenge ESA listing expansions
IADC has joined with industry association efforts regarding the possible listing of the Lesser Prairie Chicken as a “threatened species” by the US Fish and Wildlife Service under the Endangered Species Act. On 1 March, the associations sent comments to the docket listing a variety of concerns.
Should the lesser prairie chicken be listed, limits on drilling may be placed at well sites in Texas, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and New Mexico.
This action has the potential to affect IADC members who drill wells in areas that are subject to the FWS regulations pertaining to the conservation of species and operate in areas identified as a lesser prairie chicken habitat.
IADC, along with API, Independent Petroleum Association of America, Western Energy Alliance, New Mexico Oil and Gas Association, Panhandle Producers and Royalty Owners Association, Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association and the Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association of Oklahoma, is concerned with protecting the environment and many members donate and assist in the protection of the bird’s habitat.
For more information, please contact Joe Hurt at ext. 224 (Joe.Hurt@iadc.org).
Advanced Rig Technology Committee Focuses on BOPs
Two subcommmittees within IADC’s Advanced Rig Technology Committee recently noted an increased interest in drilling Blow-Out Preventers (BOP) and their control systems. Undoubtedly, industry events of the last three years have driven the concern and curiosity, along with governmental objectives for reporting and certification. The primary concerns voiced by members have focused on the robustness and reliability of these important safety systems.
The Future Technology Subcommittee held a subsea BOP Workshop in Houston on 21 March, which received positive and enthusiastic feedback from attendees.
The Drilling Controls Systems Subcommittee has also received numerous requests on the subject of BOP Control Systems, both hydraulic and multiplexed electrical/electronic, for offshore and onshore applications. Due to the interest, the subcommittee has proposed the formation of a new BOP Controls Subcommittee. This task is currently underway, with discussions and debates continuing at the next subcommittee meeting on 15 May.
Interested members are encouraged to attend and aid in shaping the direction of IADC and the Advanced Rig Technology Committee.
For more information, please contact Scott Maddox at ext. 423 (Scott.Maddox@iadc.org).
For the latest safety alerts, visit www.iadc.org/safety-alerts
Alert 13-08: Caught between incident results in first aid injury
Alert 13-09: High pressure release results in injury
Alert 13-10: Hot work operations results in dropped object
Rigs Receive ISP Certificates
For certificates received since last LTI (in years):
New IADC Members
IADC welcomes 36 new members:
DRILLBITS Volume 23, Number 4
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