Photo: Illustration/Verdant Power's tidal turbines (Courtesy of U.S. DOE)

U.S. gov’t appoints TEES to manage safety institute for offshore energy

Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) has been appointed by the U.S. federal agencies to support the ongoing operation and maintenance of the Ocean Energy Safety Institute (OESI).

Illustration/Verdant Power's tidal turbines (Courtesy of U.S. DOE)
Illustration/Verdant Power’s tidal turbines (Courtesy of U.S. DOE)

The cooperative agreement for managing OESI was signed between TEES and the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

With a budget of up to $40 million over a five-year period, TEES will be responsible for managing the OESI, providing input on yearly objectives, and facilitating research and development (R&D) related to offshore oil, natural gas, wind, and marine and hydrokinetic energy.

It will also be tasked with implementing operational improvements in the areas of offshore drilling safety, and increasing environmental protection, blowout containment, and oil spill prevention and response.

BSEE and DOE will provide expertise, direction, and oversight of the OESI through a Joint Steering Committee (JSC), but the OESI will operate independently of the two agencies.

The JSC will include representatives from each agency with expertise related to oil and gas, offshore wind, and marine and hydrokinetic energy technologies.

Stacey Noem, BSEE Office of Offshore Regulatory Programs chief, said: “This cooperative agreement will strengthen the government’s world-class program of R&D related to offshore oil, natural gas, wind, and marine hydrokinetic energy production, with a focus on safety, environmental monitoring, and operational improvements”.

Kelly Speakes-Backman, acting assistant secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable, Energy at DOE, said: “The Ocean Energy Safety Institute is another example of how DOE is working with government and non-governmental partners to advance offshore energy safety and ensure a skilled workforce for ocean energy.

“The expansion of offshore wind and monitoring equipment powered by marine energy will be important contributors to the president’s goals of a carbon-free electricity sector by 2035 and a clean energy economy with net-zero emissions by 2050”.