The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) is launching a pilot risk-based inspection program in an effort to improve offshore safety.

The new program will focus on offshore oil and gas facilities that exhibit a number of distinguishing risk factors and is intended to complement its existing inspections and audits.

“By focusing on facilities based upon their risk factors, BSEE can more efficiently and effectively manage limited inspection and audit resources,” explained BSEE Director Brian Salerno. “Risk factors include design, operating and environmental characteristics of the facility, which may correlate to a greater likelihood of experiencing an incident. However, it does not mean that the facility has a bad safety record or is a poor safety performer, only that certain risk factors are present that must be managed.”

To identify facilities with a higher risk profile, BSEE will use performance and compliance data collected from the annual inspections and SEMS audits, as well as incident investigations and other reportable safety information. Other factors — including facility size and the production of hydrogen sulfide — will also be considered.

Five facilities will be selected to participate in the pilot program.

“BSEE’s inspection teams will be focusing on several risk areas or operations,” Salerno said. "We will be taking a deeper look into how operators implement and support their safety readiness programs." Upon completion of each facility inspection and review, the BSEE team will discuss with the operator the areas needing attention or improvement. BSEE will then ask the operator to develop an action plan addressing the areas identified.