In 1972, thirty-three oil and service companies formed and funded Clean Gulf Associates (CGA) as a non-profit association dedicated to protect the Gulf of Mexico and its coastline from environmental damage.
CGA has purchased over $15M of oil spill response equipment and stockpiled it at strategic locations from Texas to Mississippi. The inventory includes immediate response boats, a skimming barge, self-contained skimming packages for use on vessels of opportunity, self propelled shallow water skimmers, containment booms, and a wildlife rehabilitation trailer for treating oiled birds. CGA also has a large stockpile of chemical dispersants which can be applied by aircraft to “break up” any oil spills.
CGA equipment is available to anyone needing it, and has been used on major clean up efforts, such as the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew and the Mega Borg tanker fire off Galveston including spills that occasionally occur in transportation operations. Fortunately, strict safety procedures and technologically sophisticated equipment used in the offshore search for oil have resulted in very few spill incidents at the many drilling and production sites in the Gulf of Mexico.
Recognizing the pioneering efforts of the founding members of Clean Gulf Associates:
|Amerada Hess Corporation||Kerr-McGee Corp.|
|Amoco Production Co., Atlantic Richfield Co. (BP)||Ocean Drilling & Exploration Co. (Murphy Oil Corp.)|
|Belco Oil & Gas Corp.||Oil & Gas Futures Inc. of Texas|
|Burmah Oil Development Inc. (Phillips Petroleum Company)||Pennzoil Company (Devon Energy)|
|Chevron Oil Co. (Chevron)||Phillips Petroleum Company|
|Cities Service Oil Co. (Occidental Petroleum Co.)||Placid Oil Co. (Hunt Petroleum Corp.)|
|Consolidated Gas Supply Corporation (Dominion Exploration & Prod.)||Shell Oil Co.|
|Continental Oil Company/Conoco||Signal Oil & Gas Co. (Phillips Petroleum Company)|
|Dixilyn||Skelly Oil Co. (Chevron)|
|Exchange Oil & Gas Corp. (Williams Gas Pipeline Transco)||Southern Natural Gas Co., (Southern Natural Gas an El Paso Energy Company)|
|Forest Oil Corporation||Sun Oil Company (Kerr-McGee Corp.)|
|General American Oil Co. of Texas (Phillips Petroleum Company)||Tenneco (Chevron)|
|Gulf Oil Company (Chevron)||Texaco, Inc. (Chevron)|
|Humble Oil Co. Mobil Oil Corp., Superior Oil Co. Trans Ocean Oil Inc. (ExxonMobil)||Union Oil of California/UNOCAL|
|Hunt Oil Co.|
Also recognizing the Pioneering efforts of Halliburton for their role in assisting the CGA in successfully implementing the Clean Gulf Program.
The Minerals Management Service (MMS) of the U.S. Department of Interior was established in 1983, following its predecessor, the U.S. Geological Survey Conservation Division, established in 1954, and is responsible for issuing and implementing regulations for the design, construction and operation of all offshore structures on the United States Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). In 1969 and 1970, the Conservation Division, under Richard Krahl’s direction, revised technical requirements and investigation capabilities via new recommended practices for oil spill response and personnel training programs for drilling rigs, fixed platforms, wells and production control. In 1977, the agency started conducting its own research and development on safety and pollution prevention. This effort led to the creation of the Technology Assessment and Research (TA&R) Program, which via funding has led to more than 600 technology and research projects of which over a third were joint industry projects. These projects and programs have gained worldwide acceptance, with active industry participation, leading to further efforts on risk and reliability workshops enhancing worldwide offshore industry and the USA’s energy needs. With ongoing cooperation with the industry, the MMS, via Elmer “Bud” Danenberger, longtime Chief of the Engineering and Operations Division, developed and managed the TA&R, directing the reopening of the National Oil Spill Research Test Facility (OHMSETT), and organized the International Regulators’ Forum. Through its existence the MMS and its predecessor have in cooperation with the petroleum industry established very high standards which have been copied by coastal governments and many foreign countries.
Recognizing the pioneering efforts of the following individuals and organizations that contributed to this technology:
Elmer “Bud” Danenberger, Thomas Dunaway, Felix Dyhrkopp, John Gregory, Richard Krahl,
Dr. Charles Smith, American Petroleum Institute (API), International Association of Drilling Contractors (IADC), Minerals Management Service (MMS) and the Offshore Operators Committee (OOC)
Weather, particularly severe weather, has been a concern to the offshore oil and gas industry since the beginning. From the first offshore operations in 1948, thousands of structures, both permanent and temporary, have been sited on the continental shelf and slope. At the same time an immense supply and support infrastructure has blossomed along the Gulf Coast from Mobile to Brownsville. Thousands of oilfield workers make their homes there, and the investment in structures, facilities, and equipment amounts to billions of dollars. All are at the mercy of wind, rain and tides.
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) is charged with the responsibility of safeguarding life and property by providing the most timely and reliable warnings of actual and potential tropical storm activity to agencies and governments charged with public safety. Accordingly, the NHC plays a vital role in keeping the offshore industry informed so they can implement safety procedures, evacuate workers, and protect equipment and the environment efficiently and cost-effectively.
The accurate forecasts of storm intensity, size and forward motion allow affected populations to implement predesigned plans to prepare for the storm in an orderly, prioritized way. This is most evident in the offshore oil industry, where storm preparedness is carefully staged to provide maximum protection for workers both offshore and on land, as well as for their equipment and facilities. Unfortunately, many of the lessons came at a high price, and storms such as Betsy, Carla, and Audrey are still remembered for their devastating effect on the industry, as well as the coastal communities.
Then, the industry was unprepared, but today, thanks to the work of the NHC, these unfortunate results are but a fading memory. It is a tribute to the skill and dedication of the NHC workers that, due to the steadily improved quality, accuracy and timeliness of their predictions, the offshore oil and gas industry has been able to persevere, exploring farther and farther from shore in deepening waters, confident that they will have the weather information they need to proceed safely.
The National Hurricane Center
Companies and individuals manage risk by developing technology and procedures to minimize it, and then by purchasing insurance to protect them against losses. So it has been with the expansion into the offshore frontier. Without insurance offshore opportunities would have been developed at a much slower pace―some prospects may never have been drilled.
But underwriters must have some idea of risk before they can reasonably write insurance coverage. Their lack of experience in the risks associated with the unusual fleet of exploration, drilling, and production units that took to sea, and the gradual learning curve by the offshore unit designers on air gap etc. resulted in substantial losses, the first from Hurricane Betsy in 1965. Then, following losses like the Bruyard, the Sea Gem, the Maverick and the Bluewater I, a moratorium on writing rig insurance was declared.
Determining risks on mobile drilling units within this contracted market was difficult and time consuming. Moreover, it was hard to see how capacity might grow to cover the higher values associated with the developing breed of jackup and semi-submersible rigs. The market also was faced with requests to provide coverage on higher values for fixed offshore platforms in the North Sea.
A milestone event for making rig insurance available was the formation of the London Master Drilling Rig Contract, an agreement to insure rigs on specified terms, rates and conditions that provided a larger capacity (initially for values up to US $10 million) than would otherwise have been available. The idea was originally conceived by several insurance firms and was established as a line slip facility available to the five leading brokers engaged in energy business. The purpose of the contract was to bind the market behind the agreement of six leading insurers to one declaration, these six being considered specialists in the energy business. By this means it was possible to build capacity to the maximum amount available in the market at the time. Coverage was thus available for physical damage exposures of offshore drilling units during construction, movements and operating. Key underwriters learned the offshore business in order to write risks for their clients on behalf of their syndicates and companies, and key brokers brought those insured’s to the table. The London Master Energy Line Slip (which became the name of the facility) survived until June 1992. At its zenith it offered a capacity in excess of US $1 billion any one structure.
Recognizing the pioneering efforts of the following individuals and companies who contributed to the development of this technology:
London Underwriters: Henry Chester, Gale Coles, David Hill, Harold Hill and John Oliver. London Brokers: Mike Adams, George Stewart and Peter Wright. American Brokers: Joseph Blades, Tom Carey, L.K. Giffin, Russell Sammis and George Wells.
In November 1947, at the beginning of the oil and gas offshore industry, published information relating to any aspect of offshore operations was primarily limited to a few presentations made at technical society meetings. To illustrate the scanty technical information available, in October 1947, a prominent Civil Engineer from New York presented a paper at the Tulsa American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical Engineers (AIME) meeting: “Important Considerations in Marine Construction.” The uninformed author opined that maximum wave heights in the Gulf of Mexico would be only 25 feet. For the next 19 years the offshore industry proceeded to present offshore technology on a piecemeal basis. There were no statutory building codes or prescribed design practices for the offshore industry. During this time, API committees developed and provided various “Recommended Practices”. Emerging offshore technology was promulgated through the distribution of papers presented at individual local technical society meetings and conferences. From time to time technical articles appeared in periodicals such as: “World Oil”, “The Oil & Gas Journal”, “Petroleum Engineer”, “Engineering News Record” and “Offshore”. In 1963, Shell Oil conducted their school on Floating Drilling and Underwater Well Completions, which was the beginning of the assembly of the body of knowledge called offshore technology.
It wasn’t until 1966, however, when the first Offshore Exploration Conference (OECON) was held, where offshore technology papers were disseminated in an organized fashion at one conference.
Then, in 1969, The Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), recognized the need to bring a greater participation into the accumulation of offshore technology and took the initiative to cooperate with 8 other professional societies to organize the Annual Offshore Technology Conference (OTC).
The OTC has developed into a worldwide exchange of knowledge. The OTC has become the première conference for the presentation of and the exchange of offshore technology and one of the largest technical conferences in the world.
Recognizing the following individuals and organizations that contributed to the formation of the first offshore technology conferences:
Joe B. Alford, Mort J. Richardson, Offshore Exploration Conference (OECON) and Offshore Technology Conference (OTC).