Ensuring U.S. offshore energy production is the safest in the world

daily advertiserThe Advertiser | April 27, 2016 | Randall Luthi, Barry Russell, Nikki Martin

The U.S. oil and natural gas industry is made up of a wide array of companies and individuals. From small to large exploration and production companies to geologists and engineers, the oil and gas industry is composed of hardworking men and women dedicated to the advancement of American energy development, the creation of innovative new technology, and above all, the ability to provide the energy we all rely upon each day in a safe and secure manner for the environment, workers, and communities.

Safety is not a word that is tossed around lightly in our industry. After all, the people who work every day on well sites, rigs offshore, and seismic vessels are the same people who live, work, and raise their families in those communities. To promote the highest safety standards, companies provide briefings and training for employees; hire large teams focused solely on the environment, health, and safety of a project; and encourage continued technological advancements to reduce potential risks on-site. This advancement is showcased offshore, where oil and gas producers are deploying new, innovative solutions to ensure that U.S. offshore energy production is the safest in the world.

One incident is one too many, and that is why the energy industry has no greater priority than the safety of our workers and environment. With the Obama Administration’s Offshore Well Control Rule recently released, and as many look back at the anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon incident, it is important to understand the dedication and continued safety improvements being made by this vital industry.

Significant steps have been taken over the past six years to enhance offshore safety. Thanks to the use of advanced computers, sensors, and automation tools, companies can track and monitor operations more efficiently than ever. Engineers now read information from sensors in digital form, enabling them to make real-time decisions about the reservoir, well conditions, and instantly make adjustments as needed. Oil and gas companies also use remotely operated underwater vehicles, known as ROVs, to support and enhance their ability to monitor and control every moment of development. Prior to and during operations, companies run extensive tests, such as cement testing to ensure materials used in the building of the wellbore are able to withstand high levels of stress during operations.

Read the full op-ed here.

Barry Russell is president and CEO of the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA), Randall Luthi is president of the National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA), and Nikki Martin is president of the International Association of Geophysical Contractors (IAGC).