BSEE warns offshore industry of ‘potentially catastrophic’ bolt failures

The U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement has warned the oil and gas industry of a recurring problem with connector and bolt failures in various components used in risers and subsea blowout preventers used in offshore operations.

“These failures are of great concern to BSEE due to their frequency and the potential for a catastrophic event. A previous occurrence of bolt failures in December 2012 prompted a global recall of the bolts associated and a temporary cessation of drilling activities,” the BSEE said in a safety alert on Tuesday.

The BSEE said that fact that these failures involved equipment from three primary manufacturers suggests that issue may be a systemic industry problem that requires immediate attention.

The safety watchdog has issued several recommendations to the offshore oil and gas industry players. The recommendations as BSEE has shared them can be seen below:

At a minimum, operators should work with the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) to:

• Verify that there is complete documentation that demonstrates that all components that are currently in service satisfy the metallurgical properties specified by the OEM and the latest
industry standards.

• Verify that all installation and maintenance procedures (including torque processes and values) satisfy OEM requirements and ensure that these practices are effectively implemented.

• Report any failures to OEMs and appropriate industry organizations in a timely manner to ensure the prompt transmission of relevant data to the industry.

The BSEE said it was continuing work BSEE is continuing to work with various organizations to evaluate these failures and determine if additional long-term action is needed to prevent additional failures.


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