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Reporting to SafeOCS




The Industry Safety Data (ISD) program, a component of BTS’s SafeOCS data sharing framework, provides a trusted, proactive means for the oil and gas industry to report sensitive and proprietary safety information, and to identify early warnings of safety problems by uncovering hidden at-risk conditions not previously exposed from analysis of reportable accidents and incidents. Through comprehensive analysis by professional statisticians and industry subject matter experts, the program allows the identification of trends or patterns before safety is compromised and provides a tool for continuous improvement by focusing on fixing impediments to safety.

BTS formed a Phase I Planning Team consisting of representatives from companies working in the Gulf of Mexico who expressed interest in participating as early implementers for the suggested enhancements to the SafeOCS program. This team discussed the type of data that should be submitted to ensure that data captured has appropriate learning value. The scope of data discussed includes incidents, near misses, stop work events, and associated metadata for the period from 2014 through 2017. The aggregated data will be reviewed and analyzed, and the results will be shared with the public in a report to be released no later than January 2019.

All companies working in the OCS are invited to join Phase II of this program which will incorporate enhancements learned from the Phase I effort. Companies joining Phase II would submit data for safety events occurring after January 1, 2018. A related goal of the ISD is to provide a mechanism whereby participating companies can submit safety data in whatever format they currently use to minimize incremental effort on the company’s part.

One of the key benefits associated with submitting safety data directly to BTS for aggregation and review is that it addresses concerns related to protection of the data source information. SafeOCS, including the ISD, operates under a Federal law, the Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act of 2002 (CIPSEA), which requires that the program protect data submitter identity and treat reports confidentially. Information submitted under CIPSEA is also protected from release to other government agencies, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, and subpoena. Even regulatory agencies such as BSEE cannot have access to a submitter’s identity or report. In addition, the information from individual records cannot be used for enforcement purposes. CIPSEA is subject to strict criminal and civil penalties for noncompliance.

Once data are aggregated, BTS will analyze safety data reports submitted by companies involved in OCS activities. BTS will also work with subject matter experts to further analyze these reports to identify potential causal factors and trends. The results of these aggregated analyses will be distributed by BTS through public reports. Industry workshops will then be scheduled to allow operators, service companies, drilling contractors, regulators, and other stakeholders to discuss the results and share learnings.




  • What is the ISD program?
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    The ISD program provides a trusted, proactive means for the oil and gas industry to report sensitive and proprietary safety data: safety events, near misses, stop work events, and other safety-related data. Professional statisticians and industry experts perform comprehensive analysis to identify safety trends and enable continuous safety improvement.

    Additional background information on the ISD program can be found here.

  • Why has ISD reporting been initiated?

    BSEE initiated the ISD reporting component of SafeOCS to address concerns raised in a variety of industry reports regarding the industry's inability to capture and share key learnings from significant events, including near misses and stop work events. The ISD conceptual framework was developed collaboratively with industry, and aims to overcome information-sharing obstacles for a broad range of data to aid industry in improving safety performance. More information about this collaboration and a joint value proposition can be found here.

    In addition, BSEE initiated ISD reporting for the following reasons:

    • •   Voluntary safety event reporting aids the government and industry in identifying the most critical safety issues.
    • •   ISD reporting will help close the perceived gap in risk management identified following Deepwater Horizon. ISD reporting aligns with related recommendations from several external national bodies, including the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, the National Academy of Engineering, the National Research Council, and the Marine Board.
    • •   ISD reporting helps BSEE improve the dialogue with companies on potential leading indicators to address safety issues before a catastrophic event occurs.
    • •   ISD reporting establishes a cooperative framework that allows BSEE to work together with industry to improve safety in an industry-led manner.
    • •   ISD reporting promotes industry data sharing by protecting confidentiality.
  • Why should I participate in the SafeOCS ISD program?

    By participating in the ISD program, you are contributing to the combined knowledge on how make the OCS a safer place to work and operate. Participants can incorporate the learnings from shared incident and event data into their continuous improvement efforts. This is particularly important for major hazards and associated prevention/mitigation barriers.

    Key benefits of this effort include the following:

    • •   provides a secure, central repository for collection, collaboration, and sharing of learnings of safety-related data
    • •   identifies types of data that will provide valuable learning information
    • •   aligns incident and indicator definitions
    • •   implements a robust methodology for identifying systemic issues
    • •   disseminates results to stakeholders who can then take actions to reduce or eliminate risk of reoccurrence through greater barrier integrity
    • •   provides opportunities to network and benchmark performance
    • •   sets up framework wherein actions cannot legally be taken against data submitters nor can raw data be used for regulatory development purposes

    In addition to analysis of industry-wide patterns, BTS is available to conduct separate analyses on data specific to your company.

  • Why not limit the scope of the ISD program to what BSEE already collects through incident reporting requirements?

    While there is certainly value in further analyzing the regulatory-required incident and spill event data currently submitted to BSEE under 30 C.F.R. §§ 250.188 and 254.46, the opportunities for deriving learnings from these data are limited to the data fields mandated by BSEE. When you consider the historic safety triangle, familiar to so many in the industry, the largest number of safety events, including potentially significant near misses and stop work events, are not required by regulation to be reported. Therefore, it is imperative for industry to gain a better understanding of those non-reportable safety events.

    The ISD program includes both voluntarily submitted safety event data as well as data required to be reported to BSEE. The regulatory-required data is provided to SafeOCS by participating companies and by BSEE.

  • What are ISD Phase I and Phase II?

    Phase I of ISD reporting is a collaborative effort among BTS and representatives from nine (9) companies working in the Gulf of Mexico who expressed an interest in participating as early implementers. The scope of Phase I data includes safety events, near misses, stop work events, and associated metadata for the period from 2014 through 2017. A report containing analyses of the aggregated data is expected to be shared with the public no later than January 2019.

    Phase II of ISD reporting will incorporate enhancements learned from the Phase I effort. Companies joining Phase II would submit data for safety events occurring after January 1, 2018.

  • Are the core data fields identified as part of Phase I intended to apply to future phases?

    The industry participants on the Phase I Planning Team identified the core data fields based on what the group felt offered the most learning value for industry in managing and mitigating safety risks. These core data fields will also apply to Phase II in the first year. After that, the Planning Team will review the need to add new data fields based on a review of aggregated data. The current core data fields are expected to remain in place unless the Planning Team identifies a compelling reason to change them.

  • Who can participate in ISD reporting?

    All operators, drilling companies, and service provider companies working on the OCS are invited to join Phase II.

  • How do I sign up to participate?

    Your company will need to contact BTS at 1-844-OCS-FRST (1-844-627-3778), or Demetra Collia at Demetra.collia@dot.gov and sign a cooperative agreement with BTS to participate in ISD reporting. A cooperative agreement template can be found here.

    Additional information about how to sign up to participate can be found here.

  • How should reports be submitted?

    Reports may be submitted individually, through a block transfer of multiple reports, or through a database transfer. Your company will work with BTS to determine a method for transfer, with the goal of allowing for submission of data in whatever format you currently use to minimize incremental effort on your company’s part. Your company’s Cooperative Agreement with BTS will describe how you will provide ISD reports.

    The SafeOCS ISD User Guide has been developed to assist in the data submission process.

    The link for submitting ISD reports can be found here.

  • What are the expectations for participation?

    In addition to submitting data, companies participating in ISD may nominate representatives to participate on Data Review Teams to provide specialized expertise based on the technical content of incoming reports. Data Review Team members must be approved by the BTS SafeOCS Program Manager, undergo CIPSEA training, and sign a nondisclosure agreement. A nondisclosure agreement template can be found here.

    To ensure reports do not inadvertently release identifiable information, a Disclosure Review Board reviews them prior to release to the public. The Disclosure Review Board may include representatives from participating companies.

    Following the publication of a report, a committee may be formed to address the findings. Representatives from participating companies would be invited to serve on the committee.

    Additional information about company participation can be found here.

  • My company has domestic and/or international activities in other areas in addition to the Gulf of Mexico. Is the data I submit to SafeOCS ISD limited to only the Gulf of Mexico?

    No. Companies are free to send safety data about other regions to SafeOCS. While the current focus is primarily the Gulf of Mexico, we hope to expand the scope beyond this region so that industry can better generate and leverage safety learnings from all regions.

  • Who is on the Planning Team?

    The Phase I Planning Team consists of representatives of those companies who have agreed to be early implementers of the program. This team is made up of operator, drilling company, and service provider company representatives. For Phase II, all participating companies will be invited to be members of the Planning Team, if interested. Depending on the response, BTS may opt to limit the size of the Planning Team to ensure its effectiveness, and steps may be taken at some point to rotate participants on the team to allow more companies to be part of this effort.

    While the Planning Team in intended to be representative of the offshore oil and gas industry, the team functions as an extension of BTS. As such, and given that BTS is an independent Federal statistical agency, BTS will maintain a leadership role on the team throughout the process.

    Members of the Planning Team may also opt to participate on one or more Data Review Teams, as appropriate, or suggest alternative representatives from their respective companies to be Data Review Team members depending on their area of expertise. As noted previously, all Data Review Team participants will be required to execute a Non-Disclosure Agreement with BTS.

  • What is the role of the Planning Team?

    General responsibilities for the Planning Team include the following:

    • •   Discuss the type of data to be submitted to ensure that data captured has appropriate learning value. Data types may include, but are not limited to, incidents, near misses, observations, unsafe conditions, stop work events, and associated metadata.
    • •   Coordinate with BTS on the effectiveness of the SafeOCS program design and processes, including potential enhancements to data aggregation and review.
    • •   Review the SafeOCS annual report draft and provide feedback prior to BTS approval and release.





SafeOCS Informational Event

Learn from BTS and BSEE about SafeOCS’s Industry Safety Data (ISD) Program


Open Plenary Followed by One-on-one Sessions

BTS and BSEE staff will provide an overview of SafeOCS, including the program's origins, goals, scope, and methods. Attendees will hear about SafeOCS progress to date, ongoing efforts, and near-term plans for the program. The speakers will explain how companies can participate in the SafeOCS Industry Safety Data (ISD) program. This session is intended to provide attendees with the opportunity to provide feedback and ask questions. Your feedback and questions will help us to expand the FAQs about SafeOCS and improve the overall understanding of this voluntary program.

Dates, locations and session times are listed below.

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First Event:
Location:        Houston, TX
Date:               Tuesday, December 4, 2018
Time:              10:00 am to 12:00 pm (Plenary)
                        1:00 pm to 3:00 pm (One-on-one sessions)

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Second Event:
Location:        New Orleans, LA
Date:               Thursday, December 6, 2018
Time:              1:00 pm to 3:00 pm (Plenary)
                        3:00 pm to 5:00 pm (One-on-one sessions)

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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 WCR 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:
  • 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.

Send email icon  SafeOCS@dot.gov Phoneicon  1-844-OCS-FRST (1-844-627-3778) Location icon  SafeOCS, BTS-USDOT, P.O. Box 23295, Washington, DC 20026-3295