Cooperation with India
On Friday September 26th, 2008, the White House issued a joint statement declaring that, “the U.S. and India share a strategic partnership in energy issues...the United States and India both promote commercial deployment of clean-coal technologies, energy efficiency, methane recovery, renewable energy technologies, oil and gas development, market monitoring, management of energy demand, and emission-free nuclear energy.”
Oil Industry Safety Directorate (OISD)
The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement and the Indian Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas’s Indian Oil Industry Safety Directorate (OISD) officially agreed to share common offshore oil and gas regulatory knowledge and experience over the next several years when an MOU was signed on July 21st, 2006 at BOEMRE HQ. The MOU has been in draft since 2000, but cooperation is highly desired at this time by the OISD since the Bombay High incident in July 2005. Through the summer of 2008 BOEMRE and TDA finalized the authority to provide the necessary funds to conduct the 18-24 months of cooperation. On September 9th, 2008 the TDA and BOEMRE signed the reimbursable agreement thereby enabling us to move forward.
- Beginning in 2007, BOEMRE began to review the OISD’s draft offshore oil and gas safety regulations. BOEMRE input was greatly appreciated by the OISD and in July 2008 the OISD adopted 174 new offshore safety rules. In the same month, the OISD was granted authority by the Indian parliament to be the sole regulatory body to manage and inspect offshore oil and gas operations on behalf of the Indian Government.
- In November 2008, BOEMRE experts and management traveled to New Delhi to perform a needs assessment as for future training and cooperative efforts. In February 2009, the first activity after this assessment was two, 2-week on-the-job training/shadowing stints of OISD engineers and inspectors at both the BOEMRE’s Gulf of Mexico Region and the Pacific Region. This was followed up in November 2009 by a small team of BOEMRE inspectors and engineers traveling to both the Eastern and Western Indian offshore to conduct joint audit/inspections of Indian facilities utilizing the new 174 safety rules.
- In February, 2009, an audit/engineering team from the OISD visited the US; specifically, the Gulf of Mexico Region as well as District Offices in New Orleans and Houma, LA. For over two weeks the OISD team conducted joint offshore audits/inspections of BOEMRE’s offshore production and drilling facilities. The goal was to see how BOEMRE implements it’s regulations through a rigorous inspection program. Lessons learned will allow the OISD to start enforcing its new 174 rules and so see better where there may be gaps in their new safety enforcement program.
- In November 2009, BOEMRE engineers and inspectors which hosted the OISD the previous February went to India to conduct a series of joint offshore audits. First a 3-day, 2 night comprehensive audit was conducted at the Mumbai High South production facility on the west coast of India. Then an audit was conducted at a Transocean drilling rig in the deepwater off India’s East Coast. Both audits were conducted with the close cooperation of both operators, the ONGC and Reliant Energy, respectively. The joint teams found some gaps in regulatory consistency but the goal was achieved of engaging the operators in the need to comply with the OISD nascent safety program.
- In February 2010, BOEMRE and the OISD held a joint regulator/operator workshop in New Delhi, India. The workshop was focused specifically on deepwater technology and regulatory compliance. The workshop was attended by virtually all private operators active in the Indian offshore. BOEMRE plans another joint workshop before the end of 2010. Both the BOEMRE and OISD are working on current topics of critical need.
- In February 2011, BOEMRE and the OISD conducted the second joint industry/regulator workshop in New Delhi. Topics for the joint industry/regulator workshop involved regulatory changes as a result of Macondo and asset integrity concerns related to aging production infrastructure. In addition, at this workshop BOEMRE and the OISD will signed an MOU extension recognizing the Bureau’s new name and that the current MOU is set to expire in July of this year.
- It is anticipated that BOEMRE and the OISD will have funding for one more activity before the end of FY2011.
Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH)
Following on the heels of bureau cooperation with the OISD, Director V. K. Sibal the Director General of Hydrocarbons (DGH) indicated he had an inertest cooperating with BOEMRE on areas of tendering/leasing as well as the assessment of methane hydrates in the hopes that both countries may eventually discover a commercial use of hydrates. On August 21, 2009 BOEMRE and the DGH signed an MOU to share and exchange information on these two very topics. Under the MOU the following have been conducted to date:
- BOEMRE Resource Evaluation Division met with a DGH-led delegation in Delhi, India, in October, 2009, to provide technical expertise on the site selection process for future Gas Hydrate drilling programs offshore India.
- BOEMRE Resource Evaluation Division arranged a Gas Hydrate Workshop to be held in New Orleans, LA, U.S.A., in January of 2010. The agenda included several days of discussion on BOEMRE methodologies and approach to assess gas hydrate resources on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf. Due to last minute programmatic difficulties, the Indian delegation was not able to make the trip.
- BOEMRE Resource Evaluation Division met with Malcolm Lall (DGH) in Tokyo, Japan, in November, 2010, where we discussed the possibility of gathering in June, 2011, in Delhi for Phase II of Indian gas hydrate expedition site selection. Also discussed was the possibility conducting the gas hydrate assessment and methodologies workshop on this same trip.
BOEM and the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MPNG)
In March 2010, BOEMRE hosted a senior delegation from the parent Ministry of DGH and the OISD. The MPNG attended briefings both headquarters as well as the Office of Natural Resource Revenues (ONRR) in Lakewood, CO. The goal of the mission was to learn more about ONRR’s data automation for royalty collections and disbursements; specifically, how does ONRR manage state/local/provincial revenue distributions with the Federal Government. The MPNG hopes to work further with ONRR to initiate similar accounting practices in India to alleviate misgivings and grievances between the National Government and sun-national entities and institutions. Future activities are undetermined at this point due to a lack of a funding source.