21st Century Ocean Energy Safety Research Roadmap


The Research Partnership for a Secure Energy America (RPSEA) has been tasked to develop a technology focused roadmap. This will be used to prioritize R&D investments needed improve offshore health, safety, environmental performance. The scope of the final report will be focused on the Gulf of Mexico, while incorporating applicable findings and research from all offshore regions where oil and gas is produced.   

This roadmap report will utilize publications, subject matter experts, two 2014 OESI documents: “Ocean Energy Safety Research Roadmap for the 21st Century Forum for Dialogue” and the “Portfolio of Ocean Energy Safety Research Efforts”.  Additionally, this roadmap will build on the 2018 “R&D Plan”, specifically the ‘Offshore’ section and information available for use from a May 2018 Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) and Gulf Research Program (GRP) ‘Safer Offshore Energy System Summit.’ The report will also utilize SPE, SEG and IADC papers and published summaries from other safety workshops and meetings.  

The insure the quality of this report, RPSEA is seeking stakeholder experts to review the document.

We are seeking experts in the following areas to submit recommended topics with a brief description on the need, value, and estimated level of effort for different safety areas.  Topics can include prevention, response, mitigation.  The topics can also include needed advancements in information systems, data sharing, prediction and early detection.  

The names and/or corporate affiliations of the parties providing responses can be held confidential.  (please include in your response).

The Roadmap will include:

Executive Summary





A discussion on the classification of the hazards or barriers the respective research is addressing

  • ·         The value and anticipated application for this effort.

  • ·         Processes needed to assure R&D is applied in the field.

  • ·         Gulf of Mexico Safety Statistics.

  • ·         Building upon advances in Safety Management Systems (SEMS).

Report Categories

  1. 2.     Drilling

a)      Planning

b)      Exploration

c)      Development

d)      Completions

e)      HP/HT

f)       Riserless

g)      Managed Pressure Drilling

h)      Closed Loop Drilling

i)        Spudding

j)        Proactive failure prediction

k)      Others:

Example: Provide HP/HT research needs for better new materials, standardized testing and protocols on new and existing materials, and management of situations arising from new materials during the lag time between adoption of the new materials and the time that an applicable standard is adopted.

  1. 3.      Operations

a)      Surface

b)      Subsea

c)      Crane Lifts

d)      Technologies that improve maintenance, QC,

e)      Running/pulling riser/BOP

f)       Inspecting risers and BOPs 

  1. 4.      Production

a)      Unmanned Platforms

b)      Platform and equipment monitoring

c)      Maintenance

d)      Offloading Production

e)      FPSO Operations

f)       Documenting and inspecting aging infrastructure 

  1. 5.      Transportation

a)      Crew transfers

b)      (manned and unmanned) Supply Vessels

c)      Transfer and handling of equipment, chemicals and supplies

d)      On/off loading

  1. 6.      Spills

Oil Spill research can be divided into the following categories:

a)      Prevention

b)      Intervention (capping, drilling fluid)

c)      Containment

d)     Response

e)    Ecology effects 

a) Identified research should include:


Provide examples for technology development in the areas of pre-drill and early pore pressure and frac gradient prediction, geohazards, robust instrumentation, data stream analysis, alarms and automatic control systems, well flow detection algorithms, and enhanced kick detection sensors are all critical components for well safety. The value vs current technology being used today. Is there prior R&D that has achieved mid technical readiness level that has demonstrated additional R&D is warranted. 




  1. 7.      Summary and recommendations

List opportunities to leverage and collaborate with ongoing R&D.   This may include Joint industry Projects or prior R&D.

For example, the RESTORE Act has funded various research efforts, for example, the University of Oklahoma is developing training modules to evaluate and strengthen workers’ decision-making skills by developing tools and modules that simulate loss of well control scenarios in the offshore oil and gas environment. These modules could enhance process safety in offshore oil and gas operations by helping operators, training organizations, and regulators assess and manage preventable risks related to human factors. The effort, Virtual reality offshore operations training infrastructure: Enhancing expert containment, decision making, and risk communications, is funded by The National Academies of Sciences - Gulf Research Program (NAS - GRP).[1]

The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) is also funding through the RESTORE Act The Gulf of Mexico Integrated Spill Response Consortium (GISR) headed up by Texas A&M University. The Consortium is focused on evaluating the mechanisms controlling fate and transport of oil in the Gulf of Mexico through laboratory, field, and numerical experiments.[2]

Additional research funded through the RESTORE Act may be found at the Deepwater Horizon Project Tracker website.[3]

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) oversees oil spill planning and preparedness for oil and gas exploration, development, and production facilities in both state and Federal offshore waters of the U.S. All functions related to BSEE authorities in oil spill planning and preparedness are administered by the Oil Spill Preparedness Division (OSPD). OSPD primary functions include:

  • ·         Reviewing and approving oil spill response plans

  • ·         Executing government initiated unannounced exercises

  • ·         Inspecting oil spill response equipment and resources

  • ·         Auditing responder and management team training and exercises

  • ·         Providing subject matter expertise during responses to offshore oil spills

  • ·         Conducting, funding, and disseminating oil spill response research

  • ·         Managing Ohmsett – the National Oil Spill Response Research Test Facility

  • ·         Supporting the National Response Team, Regional Response Team, Area Committees, and the Interagency Coordinating Committee on Oil Pollution Research.

OSPD funds and conducts oil spill response research and manages the Ohmsett test facility where full-scale oil spill response testing, training, and research can take place with oil in a realistic, simulated marine environment. Reports detailing research on chemical treating agents, in situ burning of oil, behavior of oil, decision-making support tools, mechanical recovery, remote sensing, and Arctic oil spill response are located on the Oil Spill Response Research page.[4] Any research and technology development managed by OESI will be coordinated with BSEE.

  1. 8.      Technology Transfer

  2. 9.      References and Appendix

Where to find additional information

To submit recommendations:


The RPSEA Project Team includes


Tom Williams twilliams@rpsea.org


Rich Haut  rhauttx@gmail.com


John Cohen JHCMobile@JB-Cohen.com


Jack Belcher JBelcher@hbwresources.com





[1] https://dwhprojecttracker.org/project/558/


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