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Aiming for better well control

The integrity and operational problems of blowout preventers (BOPs) will be followed up by the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) through its membership of the International Regulators’ Forum (IRF).


  

 

The present status of the industry’s work on well control issues was presented at the IRF’s offshore safety summit in Stavanger today.

   One session of this conference was devoted to updates of the most important items on the IRF’s strategic agenda, where BOPs and well control occupy a key place.

   Backed by a mass of expert contributions, the industry’s work on improving well control and BOP integrity and efficiency was summed up by Steve Kropla and Steve Cromar.

   They are respectivelygroup vice president of the International Association of Drilling Contractors (IADC), and chair of the wells expert committee at the International Oil and Gas Producers Association (OGP).

   Delegates were urged in particular to read the deepwater wells report on well design and drilling operations from the OGP’s global industry response group (Girg).

   Mr Cromar commented that this document spells out the answers to key challenges facing the industry.

Review
A key conclusion from the PSA’s follow-up to the Deepwater Horizon disaster is the need for a full review of BOP integrity and operational issues related to well control.

   “To ensure robust solutions, we must look at the way safety barriers are incorporated in BOPs for both fixed installations and mobile units,” said Magne Ognedal, director general of the PSA.

   “Today’s status report will accordingly make an important contribution to future work both by the government and in the Norwegian petroleum industry.”

Attention
The IRF’s members agreed at their annual conference in Vancouver last year to establish a strategic agenda which would focus particular attention on the most important issues.

   Improving well control and the reliability of BOPs is one of these five key topics, and the PSA has been given the job of following up this important subject.

   When introducing Messrs Kropla and Cromar, Mr Ognedal expressed great expectations of the work launched by the industry to overcome the challenges presented by BOPs and well control.

Owners
“The natural course for us was to approach the industry owners of these problems,” he said. “So we contacted the IADC and the OGP with a number of questions about existing systems and equipment.

   “Today’s review of recommendations from the industry shows that much good work is being done. We now face the long and demanding route from studies and recommendations to actual implementation.”