The Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental and Enforcement (BSEE) has proposed a rule aimed at implementing industry best practices and updating regulations governing production safety systems and equipment used to collect and treat oil and natural gas from offshore production facilities.

“The commonsense changes we are proposing, which will address issues such as production safety systems, subsurface safety devices and safety device testing, will help regulations keep pace with changing technologies that have enabled the industry to explore and develop resources in deeper waters. The rule also implements best practices currently being deployed by industry leaders as we continue to strive for safety at all levels, at all times,” said BSEE Director James Watson.

The proposed rule, which is to be published in Thursday’s Federal Register, will revise 30 CFR 250 subpart H, Oil and Gas Production Safety Systems, to address recent technological advances, BSEE said. This section of the regulations has not had a major revision since it was first published in 1988, according to the agency.

During that period, industry’s use of subsea trees (the assembly mounted on a wellhead used to control the flow of oil and gas) and other technologies have evolved or become more prevalent offshore, BSEE said. These devices and materials include foam firefighting systems, electronic-based emergency shutdown systems; subsea pumping, waterflooding and gas lift; and new alloys and equipment for high-temperature and high-pressure wells.

BSEE said it will accept comments on the proposed rule through Oct. 21.