BSEE shares results from 28 unannounced spill response exercises in U.S. waters


WASHINGTON – The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement continues to facilitate response preparedness efforts to ensure safe and environmentally sustainable, robust energy development on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf. BSEE is publishing its inaugural report that summarizes the key lessons learned from 2018 and 2019 government initiated unannounced exercises. 

The inaugural report, whose purpose is to improve domestic and international response preparedness, summarizes the key lessons learned from 28 exercises conducted in calendar years 2018 and 2019. The report focuses on three elements – Operator Lessons Learned, Operator Best Practices, and BSEE Lessons Learned, and serves to assist contingency planners and emergency responders with improving their processes and deliverables for addressing offshore responses.

“BSEE continues to develop effective ways to enhance preparedness,” said Director Scott Angelle. “Over time, these annual summaries will provide BSEE and industry with data that can be used to identify trends and emerging issues that affect our nation’s offshore environment.”

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, oceans hold about 96.5 percent of all Earth’s water. With more than 3 million American jobs dependent on our oceans and roughly 18.6 percent of our Nation’s oil and gas production conducted offshore, our oceans are critical to the economic future of many American families.

Further, 50 percent of United States is made up of ocean, and studies estimate 84 percent of our planet’s fossil fuels are located beneath oceans. BSEE recognizes the importance of our nation’s oceans in providing nourishment and economic opportunity for many Americans and promotes preparedness by conducting research, planning and preparedness exercises that strengthen operators’ responses and reduce environmental impacts to America’s waters.

During government initiated unannounced exercises, BSEE preparedness analysts witness and evaluate, a plan holder’s capabilities to effectively use public and private equipment, resources, and staff. Offshore facility owners and operators maintain response plans that document their resources and capabilities for responding to an offshore incident.

BSEE regularly plans and executes unannounced exercises in close coordination with federal partners, such as the U.S. Coast Guard and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, and state government partners – all of whom have key roles associated with offshore preparedness and response. After each exercise, BSEE documents lessons learned based on categories adapted from the Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program classification system. During the current administration, BSEE has employed 54 of these exercises as a tool for verifying the proficiencies of owners/operators, and the contractors on which they rely, in following their approved response plans.


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