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Reporting to SafeOCS




In August 2013, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) and BTS signed an interagency agreement to develop and implement SafeOCS, a voluntary program for confidential reporting of “near misses” occurring in the OCS. This program offers a resource to help industry capture and share key lessons from significant near-miss and other safety events, with the objective of preventing, identifying, and mitigating potential high-consequence risks.

In April 2016, the SafeOCS program was expanded to include reporting of blowout prevention (BOP) system and BOP system component equipment failures as mandated by BSEE’s Well Control Rule. BTS and BSEE formally expanded the program in a memorandum of understanding signed on August 18, 2016.

BSEE published the Oil and Gas and Sulfur Operations in the Outer Continental Shelf-Blowout Preventer Systems and Well Control Final Rule (WCR) on April 29, 2016, becoming effective on July 28, 2016, as referenced in 30 CFR 250.730. WCR defines an equipment failure as any condition that prevents the equipment from meeting the functional specification and requires reporting of such failures. More specifically, pursuant to 30 CFR 250.730 (c), operators must:

  • (1) Provide a written notice of equipment failure to the Chief, Office of Offshore Regulatory Programs, and the manufacturer of such equipment within 30 days after the discovery and identification of the failure.
  • (2) Ensure that an investigation and a failure analysis are performed within 120 days of the failure to determine the cause of the failure. Further, any results and corrective action are to be documented. If the investigation and analysis are performed by an entity other than the manufacturer, the Chief, Office of Offshore Regulatory Programs and the manufacturer receive a copy of the analysis report.
  • (3) If the equipment manufacturer sends notification of any changes in design of the equipment that failed or changes in operating or repair procedures as a result of a failure, a report of the design change or modified procedures must be submitted in writing to the Chief, Office of Offshore Regulatory Programs within 30 days.

Per the memorandum of understanding, all notifications related to equipment failure are submitted to SafeOCS.




  • Who must submit a report?
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    All oil and gas operators on the OCS are required by BSEE to report failures of well control equipment under 30 C.F.R. § 250.730(c) of BSEE's Well Control Rule (WCR). Operators are strongly encouraged to submit WCR equipment failure reports directly to BTS as BSEE's designee for the collection of failure data and reports. BSEE has proposed a regulatory revision to clarify BSEE's option to designate a third party for this purpose. See Proposed Rule, 83 Fed. Reg. 22,128, at 22,137 (May 11, 2018).

    All oil and gas operators on the OCS are also required by BSEE to report failures of safety and pollution prevention equipment (SPPE) under 30 C.F.R. § 250.803 of BSEE's Production Safety Systems Rule. Operators are required to submit SPPE failure reports directly to BTS as BSEE's designee under the regulations for the collection of SPPE failure data and reports.

    BTS collects WCR and SPPE equipment failure reports for inclusion in SafeOCS pursuant to a 2016 memorandum of understanding (MOU) between BSEE and BTS.

  • What additional protections are offered by submitting equipment failure reports to BTS rather than directly to BSEE?

    The SafeOCS reporting system is operated by BTS. BSEE does not have access to reports you submit to BTS.

    Any reports submitted to BTS for inclusion in SafeOCS are accessible only by BTS authorized personnel and BTS-designated agents under CIPSEA. As an independent federal statistical agency, BTS has the authority and obligation under CIPSEA and the agency's authorizing statute to protect the confidentiality of your data, including but not limited to company information, personally identifiable information, and sensitive or proprietary information. By submitting to BTS, your data are protected from release to the public, BSEE, and other non-CIPSEA federal agencies. Data are also protected from subpoenas and Freedom of Information Act requests.

    In contrast, equipment failure reports submitted directly to BSEE do not enjoy CIPSEA protections, and could be subject to release under the FOIA or other authority.

  • What must be reported?

    All failures of well control equipment and SPPE must be reported. An equipment failure is any condition that prevents the equipment from meeting the functional specification or purpose.

  • When should a report be submitted?

    A written notice of equipment failure must be provided within 30 days after the discovery and identification of the failure. An investigation and a failure analysis must also be performed within 120 days of the failure to determine the cause of the failure.

  • How should reports be submitted?

    Please select the following links to submit a report:

        •   Well Control Equipment
        •   Safety and Pollution Prevention Equipment

    Each type of report links to a separate page that will request event, equipment, lease/company, and other information. All reports and follow-up investigations should be submitted to BTS.

  • For equipment failure reports required by BSEE’s Well Control Rule, why use SafeOCS for data collection rather than the Blowout Preventer (BOP) Reliability Joint Industry Project (JIP)?

    The International Association of Drilling Contractors (IADC) and the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (IOGP) established the BOP Reliability JIP in early 2016 to improve the safety and reliability of subsea BOPs and to standardize BOP failure reporting. The WCR Equipment Failure reporting component of SafeOCS captures data that is required per BSEE regulations, and is consistent with what is captured by the JIP. The objective of SafeOCS is to capture and analyze data from all companies as opposed to only those who are participants in the JIP. Longer term, we hope to increase the scope of data captured to include non-reportable events so that we can maximize learnings for the prevention of future events.






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