The recent fire and explosion on the Abkatun-Permanente platform in Campeche Sound in the Gulf of Mexico operated by the national oil company Petróleos Mexicanos (known as Pemex) that has taken 4 lives, injured at least 16 others and caused the evacuation of more than 300 offshore workers has to have the Mexican government, stakeholders and other interested parties questioning what can be done to prevent things like this from happening again in the future.
It is no secret that in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, almost 5 years ago on April 20, 2010 on the Macondo Prospect in the Gulf of Mexico, the United States Department of Interior’s (DOI) Bureau of Offshore Energy Management and Regulatory Enforcement (BOEMRE) formerly known as the Minerals Management Service (MMS) reorganized into two sister agencies. The Bureau of Offshore Energy Management (BOEM) was formed to be the landlord responsible for leasing and collecting royalty payments from operators / lessees of federal lands offshore and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) was formed to be the policing agency enforcing regulatory requirements. BOEMRE also initiated new regulations requiring operators to develop, implement, manage and measure the effectiveness of a Safety and Environmental Management System (SEMS). The SEMS regulations are the result of incorporating API RP 75 and 30 CFR 250.1900 through .1933 (Subpart “S”) into existing regulations governing offshore oil, gas and sulfur operations in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). The purpose of SEMS is to enhance the safety of operations by reducing the frequency and severity of accidents. To accomplish these goals there are 4 principle SEMS objectives.
- Focus attention on the influences that human error and poor organization have on accidents;
- Continuous improvement in the offshore industry’s safety and environmental records;
- Encourage the use of performance-based operating practices; and
- Collaborate with industry in efforts that promote the public interests of offshore worker safety and environmental protection.
The question on many oil and gas industry minds is… Will Pemex embrace a SEMS program, which is modeled after international programs for quality, safety, and environmental management systems, to focus both Pemex and their contractors attention, resources, and initiatives on recognizing and managing the impacts of human behavior, organizational structure, leadership, standards, processes and procedures, as well as, an underlying safety culture to promote continuous improvements in safety and environmental performance to prevent future incidents like the recent one on the Abkatun-Permanente platform in Campeche Sound?
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