Environmental Protection

BSEE Plans Ocean Energy Safety Institute

Director Jim Watson also announced safety stand-downs will take place in each agency region this month, as part of National Safety Month.

The federal Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement is seeking applications this month from organizations interested in operating a new Ocean Energy Safety Institute for the next five years. BSEE announced last week that it plans to create the independent institute and has an announcement posted at grants.gov. The announcement says a maximum of $5 million in funding will be available during the five-year period to operate the institute.

"The institute will help federal regulators keep pace with new processes employed by the industry as they move into deeper water and deeper geologic plays that require technological innovation to bring projects into production," said Jim Watson, BSEE's director. "I look forward to expanding the dialogue and engagement with additional stakeholders to identify and reduce risks to worker safety and the environment."

The Ocean Energy Safety Advisory Committee had recommended creating such an organization. OESC is a federal advisory group with representatives from industry, federal agencies, non-governmental organizations, and academia. BSEE's announcement said the institute "will be an important source of unbiased, independent information and will not have any regulatory authority over the offshore industry."

"As offshore energy development becomes more complex, every effort should be made to make sure it is done ever more safely," said Dr. Thomas O. Hunter, chair of OESC and former Sandia National Laboratory director. "The institute provides a unique opportunity for all engaged parties to work together to identify and deploy technology that will make a real and enduring difference. The time is right and the opportunity is clear."

Watson is featured in a new BSEE video in which he discusses the agency's National Safety Month activities in June, including safety stand-downs that will take place this month in each region. "Remember, we need to have safety at all levels at all times," he says in the video.

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