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Mississippi State Oil and Gas Board to Tighten Blowout Preventer Rule

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Mississippi's Statewide Rule 13, addressing blowout preventers, currently states that, "[i]n drilling areas where high pressures are likely to exist and on all wildcat wells, all proper and necessary precautions shall be taken for keeping the well under control, including the use of blowout preventers and high pressure fittings attached to properly anchored and cemented casing strings." This Rule, however, is likely getting a major overhaul aimed at enhancing the safety of the general public and oilfield workers.

On October 11, 2013, the State Oil and Gas Board gave notice of its intent to amend Rule 13 "to prescribe new regulatory requirements relating to the installation and testing of blowout preventers (BOPs) on oil and gas wells." The proposed new Rule will cover all wells "being drilled, completed or recompleted in the State and "any production work when tubing is to be pulled from the well." In addition to setting forth minimum standards for blowout preventers and the timing of their installation, the proposed amendments include testing, reporting, and recording requirements. A representative certified in "'Well Control' by an industry-accepted institution of training" must also be present and available at all drilling, completion and recompletion locations under the new rule.

The five-member Mississippi Oil and Gas Board will hold a public hearing on the proposed amendment to Rule 13 beginning at 10;00 am on November 20, 2013 in its Hearing Room at 500 Greymont Avenue, Suite 500, Jackson, MS. Written comments and/or formal docket requests may be filed with the agency until 5:00 pm on November 12.

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