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Robust Regulation in the Offshore Petroleum Industry – An Assessment of Different Approaches

Professor Preben Lindøe
University of Stavanger, Norway
Date: 6 March 2012
Time: 1:00pm - 2:30pm
Venue: KSW 3.01


In the 1970's and 1980's, major accidents at drilling platforms on the Norwegian continental shelf (Bravo 1977, Alexander Kielland 1980) and the UK shelf (Piper Alpha 1988) led the regulatory agencies in Norway and the UK to replace prescriptive regulation of offshore safety with a system of broader functional requirements and performance-based rules. In contrast, the US regulatory approach has remained essentially unchanged with a prescriptive regime and technically detailed standards embedded in the regulations. After the Macondo accident in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, a number of assessments, reports and conferences have been discussing a future approach for offshore risk regulation.
The presentation summarizes and compares some of the key elements in this debate on the prevention of major offshore accidents in Norway, the UK and the US. The presentation combines (1) a historical perspective on major accidents, (2) a contextual perspective with economic-market, political-administrative-legal orientation, (3) an expert-professional perspective and (4) consideration for social-cultural values.
Empirically, the analysis is based on a portfolio of research projects on the Norwegian and US approaches to technological change, safety management and regulation, a review of legal documentation from the countries studied and of key documents from the body of reports that followed the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster.

About the speaker

Preben. H. Lindøe is Professor of Societal Safety at the University of Stavanger, Norway. He has a master of science from Technical University of Trondheim and a PhD on implementation of "internal control" (Enforced self-regulation) in Norway. For a period of 20 years he has conducted applied research on subjects such as occupational health and safety and quality management. His current main areas of research are safety management and risk regulation regimes.