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BSEE, USCG sign agreement for regulating mobile offshore drilling units

BSEE

On June 4, Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) Director James Watson and US Coast Guard Rear Admiral Joseph Servidio signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for regulating mobile offshore drilling units (MODU) on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). Through the agreement, both BSEE and the US Coast Guard will work together to identify and coordinate responsibilities for the inspection and oversight of MODUs.

"MODUs are unique and dynamic vessels that are an important part of the offshore oil and gas industry's exploration efforts but as we learned from the Deepwater Horizon tragedy, these highly complex drilling units with their state-of-the-art equipment and ultra-deepwater drilling capabilities must be closely monitored" said Director Watson. "This agreement between BSEE and the Coast Guard serves as a significant milestone in achieving coordinated oversight of MODUs while continuing our joint effort to improve offshore safety."

Under the current regulatory system, both the US Coast Guard and BSEE share jurisdiction over the regulation of MODU activities on the OCS. The MOA ensures a comprehensive joint approach in the regulation of MODUs by clearly outlining the responsibilities of each agency for inspection and oversight of the systems and sub-systems associated with MODUs engaged in offshore drilling operations. BSEE and the US Coast Guard will use this MOA to better align policies and procedures while also collaborating on future regulatory projects.

“This agreement solidifies the commitment of each regulatory agency to work across agency boundaries to promote safety through the clear delineation of each agency’s oversight and inspection responsibilities for MODU activities,” said Rear Admiral Joseph A. Servidio, the current Assistant Commandant for Prevention Policy for the United States Coast Guard.

The MOA is implemented in accordance with an overarching Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between BSEE and the Coast Guard signed November 29, 2012. The MOU outlined the efforts of the two agencies to closely coordinate responsibilities for regulation and enforcement on the OCS and for the establishment of future focused agreements. It was the first MOU between the two agencies since the creation of BSEE in 2011.

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