Photo: Illustration. Source: BSEE

U.S. gov’t launches funding opportunity to drive safety performance in offshore energy

The U.S. government has launched a new collaboration for improved safety and environmental stewardship in offshore energy exploration and production operations, including offshore oil and gas, wind, and marine hydrokinetic energy production.

The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) on Monday issued a funding opportunity announcement for up to $40 million, over a five-year period.

This is for the Operation and Maintenance of the Ocean Energy Safety Institute (OESI 2.0) to support additional improvements in safety and environmental sustainability in offshore energy exploration and production.

Deputy Secretary of Energy, Mark W. Menezes, said: “Through federal collaboration and a cross-sector approach, we can increase support for offshore energy production while protecting our workers and the marine environment”.

BSEE Director, Scott Angelle, said: “OESI 2.0 is the latest strategic and targeted initiative which will benefit America for years to come”.

BSEE staff implemented about 110 new environmental and 130 new safety initiatives to equip itself with durable processes and programs.

One of the results includes more oil produced with 647.3 million barrels in 2018 and 696.9 million barrels in 2019.

OESI was originally envisioned as an entity that would facilitate research and development (R&D) on, and implementation of, operational improvements in the areas of offshore drilling safety and environmental protection, blowout containment and oil spill prevention and response.

Through a five-year project agreement, the agencies will jointly support a 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.

OESI 2.0 will expand the scope of OESI to include offshore renewable energy development considerations, as well as oil and gas production and development considerations, through a collaborative initiative involving government, academia, and scientific experts.

The recipient institution receiving the award will be responsible for managing OESI, providing input on yearly objectives, and conducting certain work to further the attainment of those objectives.

While OESI will operate independently of BSEE and DOE, both agencies will be substantially involved in the institute through a Joint Steering Committee (JSC).

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

It will provide input to OESI on its technology roadmaps and annual plans, as well as review and approve its major deliverables.