oil rigFollowing a 2012 explosion that killed three workers and three loss of well control incidents since February, federal government officials met with offshore oil and gas industry executives last week to talk about improving safety in offshore operations – particularly in shallow water in the Gulf of Mexico.

None of the three loss of well control incidents in shallow water operations resulted in significant injuries or pollution.

"We are all very grateful"

“In the latest incident, forty-four workers were safely evacuated without any injuries. That is remarkable, and we are all very grateful the workers made it to safety,” said Acting Assistant Secretary for Lands and Minerals Management (LMM) Tommy Beaudreau.

The LMM, along with the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), convened the meeting in Houston.

From CEO to roustabout

“These recent incidents underscore the inherent risk in offshore operations and the need for everyone – from the chief executive officer to the roustabout – to make safety his or her number one priority,” said Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell.

The Department of the Interior leaders also discussed the importance of operator oversight of contract work being performed on offshore facilities, the need to monitor and act more proactively when there is an indication of a problem and the importance of compliance with regulations.

Not without risk

“While many consider shallow water operations to be less technically challenging in many cases than those occurring in deepwater, they are not without risk, and the industry must not become complacent,” said BSSE Director Watson. “Offshore workers need to be empowered to take actions to save lives when they see a leading indicator that something is wrong.”

Click here for more information on efforts to increase the safety of offshore energy exploration and development.