Industry stakeholders, policy makers meet to discuss safety standards

At API’s conference, policy makers and industry stakeholders worked together to design new standards for the safe operation of oil production equipment.

Hundreds of engineers and other scientists recently gathered in Washington, D.C. to attend the American Petroleum Institute's (API) 90th Exploration & Production Standards Conference on Oilfield Equipment and Materials.

Congressional staffers and officials from various regulatory agencies joined these experts as they examined the challenges facing the energy industry and evaluated the potential to use new standards to improve the safety and reliability of oil and gas wells. API develops its standards through a process that relies on open discussion between stakeholders, with the goal of making the industry's operations as safe, consistent and efficient as possible.

"Our standards and practices work because they are developed through engineering and operating experience." API President Jack Gerard told attendees during a speech on the second day of the conference. "The U.S., state, and local governments don't adopt them as regulations out of convenience, but because they are proven and reliable."

The organization's standards program, which has produced more than 500 standards covering all segments of the oil and gas industry, offers a poignant example of the industry's approach to safety.

"Safety is, and always has been, a top priority at API," Gerard explained. "In many ways, we're raising the bar on ourselves."

According to the Oil and Gas Journal, API has produced five new standards related to hydraulic fracturing in the last five years and is continuing to support the safe development of unconventional energy resources through its standards program.

Offshore safety conference set for later this month

On July 16, API will kick off another safety-centric conference in Houston. This event, which is cosponsored by the federal Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), will focus on how operators can minimize risk at offshore drilling platforms.

With the BSEE preparing to implement new standards for offshore rigs as part of the second phase of its Safety and Environmental Management Systems (SEMS II) program, this conference promises to be particularly pertinent for companies involved in offshore operations.