Wirelines

Posted on 17 January 2009

IADC attends US oceans workshop

IADC recently participated in a workshop in Annapolis, Md., to set the framework for recommendations to the Obama Administration on ocean resource policies. The event was opened by former US Department of Energy Secretary Admiral James Watkins. He chaired the US Commission on Ocean Policy, which was designated to deliver a report on the state of US marine health and resources and to recommend policies to improve the regulatory framework for managing those resources. The offshore E&P industry was represented on that panel by Paul Kelly of Rowan Companies and Larry Dickerson of Diamond Offshore. With the Obama Administration moving in, conference co-sponsor Joint Ocean Commission Initiative (JOCI) is now seeking to promote legislative and executive branch fulfillment of their common recommendations, as indicated by the workshop’s title, “Setting Ocean Priorities for the New Administration and Congress.”

IADC senior vice president – government affairs Brian Petty argued against recommending restoration of OCS moratoria, which expired or was lifted by executive order in 2008. Despite an overwhelming presence of environmental groups at the workshop, it concluded with no mention of the moratoria issue in its final summary. Next steps will involve development of recommendations to be presented at a press conference in Washington in March.

Progress in EU Working Time Directive

The European Parliament in December voted in plenary on the second reading of the proposed new EU Working Time Directive. Much media attention has focused on the intra-community wrangle over the UK “opt out,” but at this stage of a very long process, the offshore E&P industry is generally prevailing in its arguments. Most importantly, Parliament agreed to afford Member States flexibility in establishing reference periods, even up to 12 months. This is critical to managing offshore rotas. Next steps involve taking the proposed Directive to a “conciliatory committee” to attempt to resolve differences between the Parliament and the European Council’s draft, which is more favorable to the offshore industry.

Employment authorization process

Alan Spackman, IADC vice president, offshore technical & regulatory affairs, is a member of a subcommittee of the National Offshore Safety Advisory Committee (NOSAC) that will examine the process by which the US Coast Guard authorizes foreigners to work on the US OCS. At the 13 November 2008 NOSAC meeting, the Coast Guard asked the committee to provide advice to streamline its policies and procedures for determining when, in accordance with existing law and regulations, foreign workers may be authorized employment on the OCS. Current practices are generally viewed as too cumbersome by all involved. The subcommittee will be headed by Bill Hedrick of Rowan Companies and will include representatives of OCS leaseholders, shipyards, vessel operators and others with interest in the determination process, and is expected to begin its work in January.

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