With all of the unique issues presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 is shaping up to be a decisive year for the oil and gas industry. As a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, the oil and gas industry has been presented with new safety challenges that range from new shipping regulations to new OSHA standards. If businesses want to avoid unnecessary risk and reduce liability, they must fully understand and comply with changes brought by 2020 safety regulations for the oil and gas industry.
2020 IMO Oil and Gas Shipping Regulations
Oil industry companies need to make major changes to comply with the new 2020 safety regulations imposed by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) oil and shipping regulations, as these regulations took effect in January. Mainly, the IMO wants sulfur oxide emissions cut by 80% to help reduce harmful pollution. The reduction of sulfur oxides has the potential to be disruptive for the oil and gas sector because the new regulations will necessarily affect oil and gas transportation.
Sulphur oxides are known to be harmful to humans and can cause respiratory issues as well as lung disease. When sulphur oxides get out into the atmosphere, they cause the formation of acid rain which can harm forests, crops, watercourses and the ocean. While reducing these pollutants makes perfect sense from an environmental standpoint, purchasing more eco-friendly fuels is going to cost businesses more during a time where they are already hurting.
As of January, the emission control areas are reduced to .50% m/m. HSE companies play an important role in helping oil and gas companies meet these compliance regulations. Budgeting and sourcing new fuels and materials can be challenging, so companies will need to lean on reliable and experienced HSE partners.
Relaxed BSEE Regulation Changes
Many oil and gas companies have questions about the recently relaxed Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) regulation standards. Across the board, oil and gas companies are now under less regulatory scrutiny. As an example, the regulation standards for real-time monitoring of offshore operations have been heavily downgraded. While relaxed regulations may bring initial relief to oil and gas operators, it’s important to understand that these safety regulations are in place to limit liability. Oil and gas companies looking to avoid costly mistakes may opt to exceed current BSEE standards, such as requiring onshore engineers to monitor tasks to help mitigate the risk of sudden changes in well pressure. Even in an era of relaxed regulations, companies should always look to reduce their own liabilities.
It’s important for companies to determine what types of compliance issues are at play and whether or not it makes sense for your business to adopt some relaxed regulations. It can be difficult navigating these complex regulatory issues in a manner that is beneficial to your business, which is why it’s important to consider the consequences of safety regulations from all possible angles.
Changes to OSHA Standards
Some of the 2020 safety regulations for the oil and gas industry are regarding COVID-19, such as the use of protective equipment, record keeping, testing and more. By law, It’s vital for your company to comply with these standards to maintain the health and well-being of your workforce. The COVID-19 pandemic is an ongoing situation, so these regulations are likely to persist for some time. That’s why it’s important to regularly monitor for any changes to OSHA standards, as it’s likely that regulations will change rapidly over the next year.
Pharma-Safe is devoted to providing assistance to oil and gas-industry businesses so that they meet compliance rules. Failing to meet regulatory standards is not an option for businesses that are already so heavily affected by current issues. Fortunately, our team specializes in helping businesses meet their goals within budget. We’ll partner with your business to help you revamp and fine-tune your operations, processes and procedures to meet and exceed compliance whenever possible. To learn more, visit our website.