to the public and commerce in the area. As a result, Governor Blanco, requested that the Commissioner of Conservation review all current regulations and make any changes necessary to reduce the likelihood of a similar incident.
In response to Governor Blanco’s request, a temporary moratorium on the drilling of wells within one quarter mile of any Interstate highway was enacted by the Commissioner of Conservation on December 1, 2007 to allow time for a comprehensive review of the A Wilberts Sons LLC 72 No. 1 well control incident and all current state and federal regulations regarding drilling safety and well location requirements.
An Ad Hoc Committee on Drilling Safety, formed to complete the requested review, found that existing Office of Conservation rules (Statewide Order No. 29-B) regarding well control, promulgated in August 1943, contained only basic requirements for the use of blowout preventers during specific well operations. Enhancement of these limited requirements was identified by the committee as the most effective method for reducing the frequency of well control failures and subsequent impacts. As a result, amendments to the current rules were drafted by staff of the Office of Conservation, with technical input from the Ad Hoc Committee.
The Emergency Rule herein adopted evidences the finding of the Commissioner of Conservation that failure to adopt the above rules may lead to an imminent risk to public health, safety, welfare and commerce, and that there is not time to provide adequate notice to interested parties. However, the Commissioner of Conservation notes that permanent Amendment to Statewide Order No. 29-B is currently being pursued, with a public hearing held on August 26, 2008 as per the requirements of the Administrative Procedures Act. Since the process for adopting permanent rules has not been completed, the Emergency Rule originally adopted on June 29, 2008 is being extended.
The Commissioner of Conservation concludes that the Emergency Rule will better serve the purposes of the Office of Conservation as set forth in Title 30 of the Revised Statutes, and is consistent with legislative intent. The adoption of the above Emergency Rule meets all the requirements provided by Title 49 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes. The adoption of the above Emergency Rule is not intended to affect any other provisions, rules, orders, or regulations of the Office of Conservation, except to the extent specifically provided for in this Emergency Rule.
Within five days from the date hereof, notice of the adoption of this Emergency Rule shall be given to all parties on the mailing list of the Office of Conservation by posting a copy of this Emergency Rule with reasons therefore to all such parties. This Emergency Rule with reasons therefore shall be published in full in the Louisiana Register as prescribed by law. Written notice has been given contemporaneously herewith notifying the Governor of the State of Louisiana, the attorney general of the State of Louisiana, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the President of the Senate and the Office of the State Register of the adoption of this Emergency Rule and reasons for adoption.
The effective date for this Emergency Rule shall be October 29, 2008
The Emergency Rule herein adopted as a part thereof, shall remain effective for a period of not less than 120 days hereafter, unless renewed by the Commissioner of Conservation or until the adoption of the final version of an amendment to Statewide Order No. 29-B as noted herein, whichever occurs first.
Part XIX. Office of Conservation - General Operations
Subpart 1. Statewide Order No. 29-B
§111.Diverter Systems and Blowout Preventers (BOP)
A.Diverter System. A diverter system shall be required when drilling surface hole in areas where drilling hazards are known or anticipated to exist. The District Manager may, at his discretion, require the use of a diverter system on any well. In cases where it is required, a diverter system consisting of a diverter sealing element, diverter lines, and control systems must be designed, installed, used, maintained, and tested to ensure proper diversion of gases, water, drilling fluids, and other materials away from facilities and personnel. The diverter system shall be designed to incorporate the following elements and characteristics:
1.dual diverter lines arranged to provide for maximum diversion capability;
2.at least two diverter control stations. One station shall be on the drilling floor. The other station shall be in a readily accessible location away from the drilling floor;
3.remote-controlled valves in the diverter lines. All valves in the diverter system shall be full-opening. Installation of manual or butterfly valves in any part of the diverter system is prohibited;
4.minimize the number of turns in the diverter lines, maximize the radius of curvature of turns, and minimize or eliminate all right angles and sharp turns;
5.anchor and support systems to prevent whipping and vibration;
6.rigid piping for diverter lines. The use of flexible hoses with integral end couplings in lieu of rigid piping for diverter lines shall be approved by the district manager.
B.Diverter Testing Requirements
1.When the diverter system is installed, the diverter components including the sealing element, diverter valves, control systems, stations and vent lines shall be function and pressure tested.
2.For drilling operations with a surface wellhead configuration, the system shall be function tested at least once every 24-hour period after the initial test.
3.After nippling-up on conductor casing, the diverter sealing element and diverter valves are to be pressure tested to a minimum of 200 psig. Subsequent pressure tests are to be conducted within 7 days after the previous test.
4.Function tests and pressure tests shall be alternated between control stations.
a.Pressure and function tests are to be recorded in the driller's report and certified (signed and dated) by the operator’s representative.
b.The control station used during a function or pressure test is to be recorded in the driller's report.
Louisiana Register Vol. 34, No. 10 October 20, 2008