Barrier and Project Interface Management: The Keys to Making New Offshore Regulations, Standards and Practices Effective (Report by Offshore Network)

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Develop an industry leading well control program by utilizing latest non-technical best practices & lessons learnt

The response to the April 2010 Macondo disaster by the oil and gas industry has included new regulations, new industry standards and new recommended practices such as API RP96, BUL 97 and the Workplace Safety Rule for Offshore Safety and Environmental Management (SEMs).

These are nominally cross referenced, but it is still not clear what holds them together and makes them work as a barrier system for well design, construction and operation. Furthermore, there are inherent interface issues because RP96 deals across different phases of the project delivery process (well design and construction), while BUL 97 and RP75 cover different participants (contractor/operator). The Gulf of Mexico industry requires various barrier and interface management tools and techniques to deal with these issues.

Even though well design and construction project participants may have differing commercial and cultural perspectives, they all have an interest in avoiding major accident events. Implementing and maintaining a barrier system supports this interest.

In conjunction with PlusAlpha Risk, Offshore Network have developed a report analysing how barriers, contractor/operator bridging documents and safety and environmental management plans have worked or not worked in 28 different offshore well control disasters.

The analysis yields important conclusions for the Industry to successfully implement API RP96, BUL97, SEMs and other reference standards dealing with Major Accident Events offshore.

This report recommends designating a single point of contact on the project for barrier system communication and implementation. This individual, the Barrier System Interface Manager, would combine expertise from two fields: capital project management and process safety management, to make these new offshore standards and regulations effective.

The post-Macondo standards such as The Workplace Safety Rule, RP96 and BUL97 are good foundations to build an effective offshore barrier system against Major Accident Events. However, without a designated, single point of contact across interfaces between both project phases and project participants, it is unlikely that standards alone will prevent another Macondo or Montara. The time for the Barrier System Interface Manager has come.

You can download the full report by following this link:

About Offshore Network

Offshore Network is an independent provider of business intelligence for the offshore oil & gas community. With over 12 years of experience in developing market leading business intelligence, we offer a high level, bespoke information service to our community that is both and influential and valuable

About PlusAlpha Risk

Mr. Randall is Managing Director of PlusAlpha Risk, ( a risk management company dedicated to helping energy companies achieve a competitive advantage through risk management. He is also North America Managing Director for Global Business Management Consultants, a project management services company ( He has over 25 years of experience across the fields of financial and operational risk management, due diligence for mergers and acquisitions, international marketing, strategic planning and capital project development. He also teaches Strategic Energy Risk Management in the graduate business program at the C.T. Bauer College of Business of the University of Houston.

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Tommy Angell

Tommy Angell
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