BSEE Director Scott Angelle and USCG Commander Matt Denning Address Eighth Annual Center for Offshore Safety (COS) Forum

December 2, 2020

The Center for Offshore Safety welcomed Scott Angelle, the Director of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), and Commander Matt Denning, The U.S. Coast Guard District 8 Outer Continental Shelf Officer in Charge Marine Inspection, in addressing the Eighth Annual COS Forum, held on November 10-12. Both agency leaders provided valuable perspectives on the essential value of the offshore natural gas and oil industry, while emphasizing the importance of continuing to push the industry to improve safety and environmental performance.

Angelle used his remarks to underscore the incredible progress the industry has made on safety over the last decade, while sharing his outlook for BSEE’s future safety actions. The increased offshore natural gas and oil production over the last ten years has been “for the benefit of the America people … while ensuring energy is produced safely and is environmentally responsible,” Angelle said in his November 11 remarks.

Citing BSEE data from 2018 and 2019, Angelle called it an “incredible accomplishment” that the offshore industry is now safer than onshore drilling and production facilities, highlighting the offshore industry’s steady decline in reportable injuries and illnesses, even as production hit record levels. Angelle emphasized the industry has proven it can grow while keeping safety a priority and continuing to improve performance.

Angelle explained that BSEE will use the great accomplishments being made on the Outer-continental Shelf (OCS) to launch an agency re-branding effort called, “We Can Do It All.” The new effort will demonstrate there no longer has to be a choice between energy and environmental protection -- but “we can do it all!” Angelle called it a “rebranding based on performance,” which will be the focus of the agency’s future oversight actions. BSEE will be taking steps toward developing a performance-based approach that uses data collected from operators. He said to expect a notice in the Federal Register in the coming weeks announcing one of the first major actions in gathering this data.

According to Angelle, BSEE is moving to become a “data analyzer,” where performance data is used to better understand the improvements being made on the OCS and identifying opportunities for further action, with the goal of improving offshore safety, environmental protection, and reliability.

Denning built on Director Angelle’s remarks by highlighting enhanced collaborative efforts between industry and regulatory agencies to address new and evolving challenges over the past two years. Denning highlighted the joint efforts between BSEE and USCG, and noted the increasing complex operating environment applicable to the U.S. offshore oil and natural gas industry, with some parallels to the USCG Maritime Commerce Strategic Outlook.

Denning provided a recap of the busy 2020 hurricane season in the Gulf of Mexico and highlighted successes of company personnel emergency evacuation plans. He also noted the importance of not underestimating the powerful impact of storms, demonstrating some of the significant damage to offshore infrastructure as a result of various storms throughout the 2020 season.

Denning went onto highlight a Marine Safety Alert about Lifeboat Cables and the importance of preventive maintenance and mentioned exploring the use of alternative launching requests submitted by companies, which was discussed in more detail during the Lifeboat Breakout Session. Improving Lifeboat safety and practices is a priority area for both the industry and USCG.

At the end of the regulator session, the U.S. Coast Guard presented Helis Oil and Gas Company, LLC, a 2020 COS Safety Leadership Award finalist, a Public Service Commendation. This honor recognizes Helis Oil and Gas Company’s contributions to advancing the U.S. Coast Guard’s mission to ensure our Nation's maritime safety, security and stewardship. Congratulations to Helis Oil and Gas on this honor!

The regulator session demonstrated the importance of the COS Forum, which has been held annually since 2013. The event is used to facilitate collaboration and continual improvement between offshore industry operators, regulators like BSEE and USCG, drilling contractors, service/supply companies, and academia. The event recording is available at no cost to COS Members and previously registered attendees of the Forum for the next year. Post-event registration is available for those who missed the event and would like to view the recording.