Offshore InjuryBlog

Federal Safety Report Reveals Industry Equipment Failure

In August, the Bureau of Transportation Safety released its annual Blowout Prevention System Safety (BPSS) report. The report is a component of the SafeOCS program, a joint effort by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.

SafeOCS enables workers to report information on the offshore industry. As a result, the program gathers, aggregates, and analyzes data from as many sources across the offshore industry as possible. The resulting dataset is a comprehensive aggregation that had never been collected until 2016.

What the Report Found

The report revealed that operators in the Gulf of Mexico reported 1,129 blowout preventer failures in 2017. In the Gulf of Mexico, 18 of 25 operators reported failure events. These failures happened on a total of 45 wells of 59. Notably, the 18 reporting operators handled 90.2 percent of new wells drilled in the Gulf of Mexico in 2017.

The report determined that leaks were the most reported well failure. External leaks accounted for 49 percent of incidents while internal leaks accounted for 24.4 percent. The most common cause of these failures was wear and tear from normal operation.

The SafeOCS report states that “Collecting more detailed, accurate, timely and relevant equipment failure data can support a more in-depth statistical analysis on root causes of equipment failures and the development of predictive analytics of failure events.” It continues with, “The industry can use this information to make changes to current practices and improve safety and equipment reliability. To that end, BTS continues to focus on improvement efforts in the following areas.”

The offshore injury attorneys at Arnold & Itkin support the efforts of the SafeOCS report. Safety advocacy like this should be applauded for its pursuit of data regarding equipment failures in the Gulf of Mexico. The ability to anonymously aggregate failures creates an atmosphere of accountability across the entire oil industry.

We can only hope that companies take this information seriously and use it to properly maintain blowout prevention equipment. While this information sheds light on the prevalence of equipment failures, companies must invest their resources into fixing the issues that the 2017 SafeOCS report revealed.

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