US Customs and border protection withdraws jones act modification notice
On 10 May, the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced that it had withdrawn its proposed action relating to modifications and revision of the Jones Act rulings. In response, IADC President Jason McFarland issued the following statement:
“IADC is pleased with today’s CBP notice. The now-withdrawn proposal offered a new interpretation of decades-old customs rulings and created uncertainty by potentially reclassifying as ‘merchandise’ much of the drilling equipment used in the US Gulf of Mexico. IADC partnered with other industry associations to submit comments to CBP, along with a separate standalone comment letter, because we believed that the proposed modifications would erect a significant obstacle to the work of offshore drilling contractors. Thus, we thank CBP for its careful consideration of all submitted comments and look forward to working with the agency as an educative resource on this matter and all others pertaining to the offshore drilling industry.”
IADC praises Angelle selection for BSEE
US Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke recently announced his selection of Scott A. Angelle to head the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE). Mr Angelle has a long history of working with the oil and gas industry.
“Mr Angelle’s reputation as a tough defender of offshore safety and his commitment to cultivating the natural resources of the US make him an ideal director for BSEE,” said Jason McFarland, IADC President. “IADC looks forward to working with Director Angelle on a wide variety of issues that affect drilling contractor operations, most importantly on the bureau’s Well Control Rule, which IADC and other industry groups have consistently argued is flawed and requires significant changes to be effective.”
US Senate fails to move forward to repeal BLM rule on methane emissions
On 10 May, the US Senate voted against a procedural measure to use the Congressional Review Act to repeal the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) methane emissions rule, “Waste Prevention, Production Subject to Royalties and Resource Conservation.” In a statement, IADC President Jason McFarland said, “IADC is disappointed with this vote regarding BLM’s duplicative and costly methane emissions rule. Since the rule was first introduced in 2016, IADC, along with our industry partners, has argued that the regulation would have the unintended impact of fewer jobs, higher costs for consumers and less energy security and federal revenue.
“The truth, of course, is that natural gas is valuable, and energy companies always prefer to capture it rather than flare it off. To further prove this belief, since 2005, emissions have declined by 38%, even as production has boomed, according to the Western Energy Alliance. This speaks to the commitment by industry to adhere to environmentally sound operations, even without excessive regulatory oversight. Today’s vote is disappointing, but industry looks now to Interior Secretary (Ryan) Zinke and his team to undo the duplicative and harmful aspects of this rule.”
IADC, IBP sign MOU for collaboration
On 4 May in Houston, IADC and the Brazil Institute of Petroleum, Gas and Biofuels (IBP) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU), establishing a framework through which the organizations will cooperate and collaborate to foster education and communication within the upstream oil and gas industry in Brazil. The MOU was signed by IADC President Jason McFarland and Milton Costa Filho, IBP Secretary-General, during the 2017 Offshore Technology Conference.
Mr Costa noted that, “What we hope to achieve with the MOU is to increase the knowledge and the drilling technical capability in Brazil. Brazil has huge reserves and huge potential. We need to match the interest of investors with the interest of the country in developing the reserves, and the logical next steps will be development activities, including drilling. Another important point that we want to achieve is to increase the safety of our operations. The more we develop programs together with IADC, we can improve the safe operations of this industry.”
IADC hosts offshore drilling rigs 101 educational event in Washington, DC
On 25 May, IADC hosted an educational event for Capitol Hill staffers, “IADC Offshore Drilling Rigs 101.” Several offshore IADC members led a discussion on the role of drilling contractors in the well construction process and presented safety data, along with the latest in state-of-the-art drilling rig equipment and technologies.
Along with the educational event, offshore members met with US Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, along with several senators and members of Congress representing Mississippi, Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, Louisiana, Virginia, New Jersey, Florida, Alaska and Alabama.