New DECC guidance

UK regulator refreshes environment modeling and planning guidance of ‘worst case’ scenarios in the light of Deepwater Horizon learnings.

The UK regulator, the Department of energy and climate change (DECC) has issued clarification to operators and offshore drilling contractors in the light the Deepwater Horizon accident. The new guidance covers environmental, emergency plans, reviews and inspections. Well naming and numbering rules have been clarified and are now coupled with the oil pollution emergency plan (OPEP).

Environmental statements must include a discussion of accidental events that could give rise to a hydrocarbon release, including ‘worst-case scenarios’ such as a blow-out. Such releases must be modeled to determine beaching locations and assess potential environmental impacts. Pipeline operators are likewise required to model potential releases at key locations. Model outputs are evaluated against environmental sensitivities to inform a response strategy.

Stochastic models are needed to study uncontrolled flow occurring at different water depths. These must run long enough to identify likely directions of travel and areas at risk. The 20 page document includes instructions for organizing a control center where the Secretary of State’s representative and the emergency manager can oversee operations. More from 0201.

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