Final Well Control Rule

Time 2 Minute Read
August 24, 2023
Legal Update

On August 22, 2023, the Department of the Interior (“DOI”) announced that the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (“BSEE”) has issued the final Well Control Rule for drilling, workover, completion and decommissioning operations.  This final rule clarifies blowout preventer (“BOP”) system requirements, modifies certain specific BOP equipment capability requirements, and builds upon the regulatory reforms that were originally implemented by the DOI after 2010.  The BSEE is setting an effective date of 60 days following publication of the final rule, by which time oil and gas operators in the federally regulated outer Continental Shelf will be required to comply with most of the final rule’s provisions. Operators have a one-year deferred compliance date following publication of the final rule to equip subsea BOP stacks with the remotely operated vehicle intervention capability to both open and close each shear ram, ram locks, and one pipe ram as required by 30 CFR § 250.734(a)(4).  The final rule:

  • Clarifies the general BOP system expectations;
  • Modifies the timeframes for commencing a failure analysis to within 90 days of an incident;
  • Requires submission of independent third-party qualifications;
  • Establishes dual shear ram requirements for surface BOPs on existing floating production facilities when an operator replaces an entire surface BOP stack;
  • Requires remotely operated vehicle open functions on subsea BOPS; and
  • Requires submittal of certain BOP test results within 72 hours after completion of the tests if BSEE is unable to witness the testing.

The Corporate, Energy and Environmental practices at Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP will continue to monitor the implementation of the final well control rule.  Please contact us if you have any questions or would like further information regarding these developments.

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