The International Regulators Forum (IRF) is an informal but nevertheless important collaborative body linking official agencies regulating offshore oil and gas safety in various countries and provinces worldwide.
It was established in 1994 by a group of regulators who wished to promote a shared understanding of issues related to health, safety and the environment.
The member countries are Australia, Brazil, Canada, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, the UK and the USA.
The Forum meets periodically to share experiences and to compare regulatory approach, safety, and performance. This meeting was the first extraordinary meeting convened in the Forum’s 17-year history, and was called specifically to address issues related to recent offshore oil and gas incidents, particularly the loss of well control related to the Montara well off Australia and the Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico.
“As regulators, our role is to provide the public assurances that offshore petroleum activities will be conducted safely, and that operators, who are responsible for managing the associated risks, are held accountable for their safety performance,” said Magne Ognedal, General Director, Petroleum Safety Authority of Norway, on behalf of the Forum. “We must learn from each other and share ideas to achieve safety and environmental objectives.”
During the meeting, each member country shared case studies about their response to recent incidents, and the group discussed key regulatory processes, lessons learned, and best practices. Additionally, the American Petroleum Institute, the International Association of Oil & Gas producers, the International Association of Drilling Contractors, and the Offshore Operators Committee briefed the Forum on initiatives to improve safety of offshore operations.
The Forum confirmed its commitment to improve the safety of offshore operations and to provide leadership in global offshore safety regulations.
The Forum resolved to:
These matters will be discussed at the next meeting following the IRF 2010 Offshore Safety Conference to be held in Vancouver, B.C. October 17-20, 2010.
For more information on the IRF see www.irfoffshoresafety.com