Houston, 17 August, 2012 – The International Association of Drilling Contractors (IADC) is gravely concerned with the Interim Policy Document issued this week by the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE). By affirming that BSEE inspectors can issue Incidents of Noncompliance (INCs) to drilling contractors as well as oil companies, this unprecedented policy demonstrates a significant deviation from the global paradigm of holding operators ultimately responsible for accidents at the well site.
“BSEE’s guidance is inconsistent with the industry model and creates a whole new area of ambiguity,” said Brian Petty, IADC executive vice president – government affairs. “Global government regimes have always held operators responsible. This new guidance opens the door to unknown levels of liability for contractors and additional uncertainty for contractors. At a minimum it could increase contractors’ insurance premiums, but it also could potentially eliminate coverage for many companies in the U.S. altogether.”
These additional costs and risk exposure, combined with the possibility for civil penalties and fines, could drive drilling contractors out of the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, where experienced and high-quality drilling contractors are desperately needed. “Drilling activity is strong around the world, with significant rig demand in areas like Brazil, West Africa and Asia Pacific. Drilling contractors could well decide to leave the Gulf for places where they won’t have to bear the same risks,” Petty said.
IADC is dedicated to enhancing the interests of oil-and-gas and geothermal drilling contractors worldwide. IADC’s contract-drilling members own most of the world’s land and offshore drilling units and drill the vast majority of the wells that produce the planet’s oil and gas. IADC’s membership also includes oil-and-gas producers, and manufacturers and suppliers of oilfield equipment and services. Founded in 1940, IADC’s mission is to improve industry health, safety and environmental practices; advance drilling and completion technology; and champion responsible standards, practices, legislation and regulations that provide for safe, efficient and environmentally sound drilling operations worldwide. IADC holds Accredited Observer status at the International Maritime Organization and the International Seabed Authority, specialized agencies of the United Nations. The Association is a leader in developing standards for industry training, notably its Well Control Accreditation Program (WellCAP)® and rig-floor orientation program, RIG PASS®. IADC is headquartered in Houston and has offices in Washington D.C., the Netherlands, Thailand, and the United Arab Emirates, as well as chapters in the UK, Venezuela, Brazil, Australasia, South Central Asia, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and across the United States. For more information, visit the IADC website at www.iadc.org.