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Data Insights


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2019 WCE Annual Report

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Well Control Equipment Systems Safety – 2019 Annual Report

The U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) has released the Well Control Equipment Systems Safety – 2019 Annual Report. It summarizes well control equipment (WCE) failure events that occurred during well operations in the Gulf of Mexico Outer Continental Shelf during the calendar year. Key findings from the report include:

  • WCE failure events, defined as any condition that prevents the equipment from meeting its functional specification, decreased by 15.4 percent in 2019 when adjusted for well activity. The event rate declined from both 2018 and 2017, driven by a decrease in event rate for subsea WCE systems.
  • Most (84.7 percent) of the 994 reported failure events were detected during maintenance, inspection, and testing, with the remainder detected during drilling and other operations on oil and gas wells in the Gulf of Mexico.
  • The total reported events comprised 907 subsea WCE system events and 87 surface WCE system events. Although both surface system rigs and subsea system rigs conducted operations on a similar average number of wells per year (5.8 and 6.5, respectively), 10-fold fewer events were reported for surface systems than for subsea, comparable to previous years.
  • No leaks of wellbore fluids to the environment, classified as losses of containment, were reported to SafeOCS in 2019. The last such event was reported in 2017.

SafeOCS ISD Phase I Report

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Industry Safety Data Program for the Oil and Gas Industry: Phase 1 Report

The U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) has released the Industry Safety Data Program for the Oil and Gas Industry: Phase I Report. This publication provides information on a range of safety data including reportable and non-reportable events that were observed during oil and gas operations in the Gulf of Mexico, Outer Continental Shelf from 2014 to 2017. Nine companies participated in the pilot (Phase 1) of the Industry Safety Data program. Key learnings from this report include:

  • ISD Phase I participating companies agreed on the value of sharing data for both consequential and lesser events which had the potential to lead to a major event.
  • Legal and confidentiality concerns expressed by participating companies were satisfied with the protections afforded under the Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act (CIPSEA) and with the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement between BTS and individual participating companies.
  • A process was developed to map data from individual companies to a single database thereby successfully addressing the technical challenge associated with collecting, mapping, and aggregating data from different company-specific databases.
  • The Phase I participating companies collectively identified core data fields to be shared in order to generate meaningful learning opportunities for industry to further improve safety.

Although the results described in this report represent only nine companies and thus should not be interpreted as being representative of the entire offshore industry sector, they illustrate the data analysis process that could be implemented for the industry-wide ISD Program.


2017 WCR annual report cover

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BTS releases the 2017 Annual Report: Blowout Prevention System Safety

The U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) has released the 2017 Annual Report: Blowout Prevention System Safety, which provides information on equipment component failures occurring during drilling and non-drilling operations on rigs in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). The reporting of such events is mandated by the Well Control Rule (WCR), published by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), Department of the Interior. The publication of this report represents a groundbreaking collaboration between industry and government stakeholders and is a significant milestone in promoting safety on the OCS. The report includes an analysis of equipment component failures and other key information such as root causes of failure events, follow-up response to failures, and opportunities to improve data quality. In 2017, the first full year of mandated WCE reporting, 18 of 25 operators in the Gulf of Mexico reported 1,129 rig equipment component failure events, and the notifications involved 45 of 59 rigs operating in the Gulf of Mexico. The 18 reporting operators represent 90.2 percent of new wells drilled in the Gulf of Mexico. The report begins by analyzing aggregate equipment component failure data and then, in separate sections, presents statistics on the reported events for the two major types of BOP stacks (subsea and surface). Both types of BOP stacks were associated with component failures and most notifications were associated with the more complex subsea BOP stack (92.5 percent).


Key findings icon    Key Findings

  • The top four reporting operators represented 81.8 percent of reported component events and 32.7 percent of new wells spud in the Gulf of Mexico for 2017.
  • There was a decrease in overall reporting from 2016 to 2017. The event reporting rate adjusted for rig activity (defined as events per 1,000 BOP days) decreased from 122.3 in 2016 to 59.8 in 2017.
  • There was an increase in reporting equipment component failures while not in operation for rigs with subsea BOP stacks. The percent of subsea, not-in-operation notifications for 2017 was 86.4 as compared to 79.8 percent for 2016.
  • There was a decrease in the rate of unplanned stack pulls for rigs with subsea BOP stacks. In 2016 the rate was 7.2 percent and in 2017 it was 5.6 percent.
  • Based on follow-up documents submitted to SafeOCS, only 12 of the 18 components involved in unplanned stack pulls were sent to shore for further analysis by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) or a third party, despite the expectation of a root cause failure analysis (RCFA) for every stack pull.
  • Of 1,044 subsea events in 2017, one reported loss of containment of synthetic oil based mud (drilling fluid) during in-operation rig activity. No surface stack events resulted in loss of containment.
  • Leaks remained the most frequently reported observed failure and wear and tear remained the most frequently reported root cause of failure events in 2017 as they were in 2016.


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