Drilling advances ///

Back in the day—around mid-2010—righteous indignation swept the U.S. over federal regulators getting far too cozy with the folks they were supposed to be regulating. Even though excessive fraternization was blamed in part for a wholesale shakeup of the regulatory structure, a government-sanctioned study now suggests a little schmoozing may be a good thing. Among results of its study released in late June, the National Research Council (NRC) recommended inspectors no longer make fleeting visits to rigs, but rather have sleepovers where they can observe crews throughout their tours and interact during meals. The aim, according to the NRC, is to “enable inspectors to better judge the degree to which a safety culture exists there.” The study also concluded that the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) must hire more inspectors and called for the establishment of a so-called “whistleblower” program to encourage the anonymous reporting of HSE lapses without fear of retribution.

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