SEMS Safety and Environmental Management System

This topic provides discussion and guidance to do with SEMS — the offshore Safety and Environmental Management System that was promulgated following the Deepwater Horizon/Macondo catastrophe in the year 2010.

A LinkedIn group provides current information to do with SEMS.

Copyright © Ian Sutton. 2018. All Rights Reserved.

Safety Moment #56: Sinking Standards / Accountants Rule the Waves

This month is the 30 year anniversary of the Piper Alpha disaster. And, as to be expected, many people have published articles, blogs and web pages to do with that event, and the lessons that it continues to teach us. But there is an earlier maritime event which probably had a greater impact in its day than did Piper Alpha in ours. And that event was the sinking of the Titanic. (The image at the head of this post is actually of the Great Eastern, for reasons we discuss below.)

The Case for Safety Cases

The Deepwater Horizon/Macondo catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico (GoM) in the year 2010 demonstrated the need for new safety management regulations. The draft regulations went through various iterations, and the name of the responsible government agency changed twice. In the end, the SEMS (Safety and Environmental Management System) regulation became a requirement for offshore oil and gas operations in the United States.

Lowest Level of Risk (BSEE)

Overview (BSEE Risk)

As part of its Well Control Rule BSEE appears to have made a major change in the manner in which offshore risk is to be managed. Section 250.107(a)(3) states,

[y]ou must protect health, safety, property and the environment by utilizing recognized engineering practices that reduce risks to the lowest level practicable when conducting design, fabrication, installation, operation, inspection, repair, and maintenance activities.

Safety and Environmental Management Systems (SEMS)

The SEMS rule applies to oil and gas operations in U.S. waters. It is administered by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE). The rule holds the facility accountable for the overall safety of the offshore facility, including ensuring that all contractors and subcontractors have safety policies and procedures in place that support the implementation of the operator's SEMS program and align with the principles of managing safety set forth in API RP 75.