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API Enhances Offshore Safety Standard

November 9, 2018

Image by ExxonMobil

The American Petroleum Institute (API) released its newest valve standard as part of the industry’s continuous efforts to improve operational safety and environmental protection.

According to a release from the agency, the “Specification 6A” governs the design and operations of the critical safety valves at wells used in the offshore and onshore oil and gas industry. The latest edition includes new automatic closure requirements, to ensure additional protection for workers and the environment in loss of power and emergency situations.

Among the other improvements now included in the 21st edition of Specification 6A - Wellhead and Tree Equipment - are rigorous new requirements for modern technologies, including equipment quality provisions, and recognition of the environmental conditions in which well equipment is to be placed safely in service.

This specification has been relied upon by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement in its regulations for offshore safety.

“The safety of our operations is of paramount importance to our industry. Each day more than 1.6 million barrels of oil are pumped from hundreds of deepwater wells in the Gulf of Mexico. Ensuring the immediate closure of valves connecting underwater production systems to surface facilities will help keep workers safe and adds an additional layer of environmental protection where they operate,” said Debra Phillips, vice president of API Global Industry Services.

“Exploration and production facilities use advanced technologies, materials, and practices that incorporate multiple back-up safety systems. API Standards, such as Specification 6A, are an example of the industry’s continuous investment and improvement in every phase of preparedness and operations in which oil is produced, transported, stored, and marketed,” Debra added.

API standards are developed under API’s American National Standards Institute accredited process, ensuring that the API standards are recognized not only for their technical rigor but also their third-party accreditation which facilitates acceptance by state, federal and increasingly international regulators.

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