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Houston: In order to support the oil and gas industry in complying with the US Department of Interior’s new regulations for immediate re-certification of subsea BOP (blow-out preventer) stacks, DNV has issued a Recommended Practise guiding owners and operators through requirements and technical aspects.

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As one of the responses to the Deepwater Horizon accident, the US Department of Interior former Minerals Management Service issued increased safety measures for energy development on the outer continental shelf. One of these called for an immediate re-certification of subsea BOP stacks by an independent, third-party that:

  • Blowout preventers will stop the flow of oil, when activated
  • The well design has proper casing or cement lining
  • The driller has certified it has conducted all necessary tests and is in compliance with all regulations

Oil companies have complained about the lack of clarity over the new rules. “To support the industry with guidance and a tool for the re-certification DNV, has issued a Recommended Practice for re-certification of blowout preventers and well control equipment for the US outer continental shelf,” says Elisabeth Tørstad, COO DNV Americas and Sub-Saharan Africa.

DNV supports the US authorities’ requirement for re-certification. “We recommend that a major overhaul and inspection of BOP and well control equipment used for drilling, completion, work-over and well intervention operations should be performed at least every five years. By doing this on a regular basis, the operator is able to verify and document that the equipment’s condition and properties are within the specified acceptance criteria as well as the specified recognised codes and standards,” she concludes.

Long experience
DNV has long experience in certification of BOPs and well control equipment worldwide. The company has for some years had a specific Recommended Practise for re-certification of well control equipment on the Norwegian Shelf. “We have used our experience from Norway, but specifically addressed US requirements, when this procedure was revised. The new Recommended Practise is available now and is helping the industry deal with increasingly complex requirements,” Elisabeth Tørstad concludes.

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