Offshore regulators

Relevant offshore regulators

Australia - National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA)

Most onshore health and safety legislation in Australia is enacted and enforced by State authorities. NOPSA, the predecessor of NOSEMA, was formed in 2005 to set and enforce common offshore standards for all States and Territories. As a result of various incidents and subsequent public inquiries, the initial NOPSA remit and title has since been extended to cover pipelines, well design and marine activities, and to include environmental impacts, i.e. to be similar to typical N Sea regulators, with whom it has much in common.

Norway - Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA)

PSA is the regulatory authority for technical and operational safety, including emergency preparedness, and for the working environment.  PSA's role covers all phases of the industry, from planning and design through construction and operation to possible ultimate removal.

"Safety" covers a broad range in Norwegian terminology and embraces three categories of loss - human life, health and welfare; the natural environment; and financial investment and operational regularity.

UK – HSE Energy Division (ED)

HSE is the independent regulator acting in the public interest to reduce work-related death and serious injury across Great Britain's workplaces. The HSE Offshore Safety Division (OSD) was formed to take over from the Department of Energy, whose weak approach to health and safety regulation and enforcement was exposed by the Piper Alpha Inquiry (1990). In 2013 OSD merged with other parts of HSE to form the Energy Division (ED), responsible for the offshore industry, gas and pipelines and mines.

HSE and the Dept. for Energy and Climate Change (DECC – see below) are currently (2014) consulting stakeholders about how best to implement the post-Macondo EC Offshore Directive, which requires a unified approach to offshore safety and environmental regulation and enforcement.

From the ED Offshore website there are links to the wider HSE site, with information about legislation, hazards and good practices for every type of workplace, much of which is applicable to offshore activities.

UK - Department of Environment and Climate Change (DECC)

Amongst many other interests, DECC is responsible for oil spill planning and response. Also for legislation on CO2 reduction targets and trading, part of UK action to tackle global climate change.

USA - Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE)

Formed in October 2011 to repair the regulatory weaknesses identified following the Deepwater Horizon blowout and oil spill, BSEE works to promote safety, protect the environment, and conserve resources offshore through vigorous regulatory oversight and enforcement. BSEE issues Safety Alerts about specific incidents and required corrective actions – these are useful training/discussion materials.

Global - International Regulators Forum (IRF)

The IRF is a group of eleven regulators in the upstream oil and gas industry. It exists to drive forward improvements in health and safety through collaboration in joint programmes and sharing information.

IRF holds annual meetings and also occasional conferences in which participation from other stakeholder groups is welcomed. The 2013 event was in Perth, Australia.

IRF is ‘pushing industry to tackle persistent challenges’, including:

  • overcoming barriers to sharing data and lessons learned from offshore incidents.
  • further understanding, explaining and promoting of a ‘process safety culture’.
  • addressing the challenge of ensuring the competence of those working in, and leading, the industry.
  • achieving meaningful engagement of all those working offshore.
  • developing common international standards.