The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, an agency under the US Department of the Interior, has released the final well control regulations to minimize the risk of offshore oil or gas blowout, similar to Deepwater Horizon disaster.
The latest regulations are based on various investigations of the Deepwater Horizon incident, which occurred in April 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico where Macondo well blowout claimed 11 lives.
Intended to improve and modernize offshore energy standards and oversight, the reforms are also the result of consultation with industry groups, equipment manufacturers, federal agencies, academia and environmental organizations over the last six years.
The new policies addresses all aspects of well control, such as more stringent design requirements and operational procedures for critical well control equipment used in oil and gas operations on the US Outer Continental Shelf.
US Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said: "The well control rule is a vital part of our extensive reform agenda to strengthen, update and modernize our offshore energy program using lessons learned from Deepwater Horizon."
In particular, the final rule specially addresses the full range of systems and equipment associated with well control operations, with a focus on blowout preventer requirements, well design, well control casing, cementing, real-time monitoring and subsea containment.
The measures are also expected to enhance the equipment reliability, especially for blowout preventers and blowout prevention technologies.
According to US Department of the Interior, the new rule require operability of equipment through rigorous testing and the continuous oversight of operations in order to improve the equipment reliability to protect workers from potential effects of blowouts and offshore oil spills.
The National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA) president Randall Luthi said, "When regulations require retrofitting existing equipment or the use of new technology, it is best to have a reasonable implementation time.
"This was important to industry, and on that aspect BSEE agreed and extended many of the proposed timelines.
"We cannot ignore, however, that the release of the final rule culminates a rulemaking process that was flawed. For months, members of Congress, industry trade associations, oil and gas companies and their employees weighed in on the rule, urging the regulators and the White House to take more public comment, consider new economic studies, and pull back and rewrite portions of the rule."