Oil, gas installations to come under safety directorate
Nov 24 2010 , New Delhi
Currently, OISD is a technical directorate under petroleum ministry. It formulates and coordinates implementation of self-regulatory measures to enhance safety in the industry.
Petroleum ministry Murli Deora is likely to pilot a bill in Lok Sabha during the budget session to provide statutory powers to OISD. Meanwhile, Deora may also seek Parliament’s approval for amendments to PNGRB Act of 2006.
So far, technical standards for the oil and gas industry are to be formulated by oil regulator Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB). But, OISD has already undertaken process of developing technical safety standards for the entire oil and gas industry. Till now, OISD has developed 111 safety standards.
“There is a requirement for amendment of the PNGRB Act and give statutory status to OISD,” said a petroleum ministry official, requesting anonymity. Government plans to extend OISD coverage to entire oil and gas industry. The oil ministry has asked all companies in hydrocarbons sector to set up mechanism for safety procedures. It is important to revise and upgrade the safety facilities from time to time, ministry told oil companies in July this year.
“OISD is dealing with developing safety standards since 1986. The proposal is there (to make OISD a statutory status),” said L N Gupta, joint secretary at oil ministry. However, final decision is yet to be taken, Gupta added.
OISD will carry out external safety audit of refineries, gas processing plants, marketing installations, cross-country pipelines, exploration and production operations in both offshore and onshore sedimentary area. This is in addition to mark safety norms and revising them frequently.
In order to make OISD a statutory body, a cabinet note is being drafted and circulated among all concerned ministries and departments. Thereafter the Parliament has to approve it, PNGRB chairman L Mansingh told Financial Chronicle. “It is a long procedure and may take some time,” Mansingh added.
In addition, oil secretary and chairman of safety council, S Sundershan, has opined that safety awards should be presented only in cases of exceptional safety performance. Oil industry safety awards were instituted in 1987 with a view to promote safety performance in oil industry. OISD evaluates the safety performance of oil and gas industry members every year and the best performers are awarded.
Meeting global safety norms by oil and gas installations has become need of the hour. Last year, a major fire broke out at IOC depot in Jaipur killing 12 people. An investigation committee headed by former HPCL chairman M B Lal found lack of safety procedures and design flaws causing the accident.
BG Exploration and Production India, part of UK-based BG group, stopped drilling from Panna-Mukta fields in August this year after leakage from a hose. The production was shut for more than a month affecting 35,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd) and 205 million standard cubic feet (mscf) of gas per day.