Drilling advances

Just when you thought the sailing would be a bit clearer, leave it to bureaucrats to muddy the waters. The latest example of outrageous regulatory over-reach, courtesy of the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environment Enforcement (BSSE), involves the surreptitious expansion of the proposed and oft-delayed BOP rule. The proposed federal mandate, which ostensibly was to cover the design and operation of BOPs, is finally set for release in March, or more likely April, at which time pertinent stakeholders can comment for the record before it becomes law. However, in what amounts to a bureaucratic sleight of hand, it now seems the industry will be considering much more than the shearing capacity or maintenance of a BOP stack. With its requisite pre-comment publication in the Federal Register on Dec. 22, the scope of the proposed BOP rule has been widened out of the blue, and now covers “Blowout Prevention Systems and Well Control.”

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