Journal article Open Access
Ships for drilling need to operate in the territorial waters of many different countries which can have different technical standards and procedures. For example, the European Union and European Economic Area EU/EEA product safety directives exclude from their scope drilling ships and related equipment onboard. On the other hand, the EU/EEA offshore safety directive requires the application of all the best technical standards that are used worldwide in the oil and gas industry. Consequently, it is not easy to select the most appropriate technical standards that increase the overall level of safety and environmental protection whilst avoiding the costs of additional certifications. We will show how some technical standards and procedures, which are recognized worldwide by the petroleum industry, can be accepted by various standardization bodies, and how they can fulfil the essential health and safety requirements of certain directives. Emphasis will be placed on the prevention of fire and explosion, on the safe use of equipment under pressure, and on the protection of personnel who work with machinery. Additionally considered is how the proper use of adequate procedures available at the time would have prevented three large scale offshore petroleum accidents: the Macondo Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010; the Montara in the Timor Sea in 2009; the Piper Alpha in the North Sea in 1988.