Mr. Charlie hosts federal inspectors


When the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement needed a safe place to access offshore equipment in an effort to better train new oil rig inspectors, it came to the International Petroleum Museum and Exposition, better known as the Mr. Charlie.

The Morgan City museum is an authentic offshore drilling rig that companies having anything to do with the oil industry can utilize to train employees while maintaining a safe environment for that work.

While BSEE offers more than 100 courses for its inspectors, the class on principals of regulatory inspection requires access to equipment, thus the Mr. Charlie was called into action.

“I think it’s a win-win for the agency and for the economy of Morgan City,” Chris Barry, Director of the National Offshore Training and Learning Center said.

Barry said the philosophy of the organization is straightforward. “BSEE works to promote safety, protect the environment, and conserve resources offshore through vigorous regulatory oversight and enforcement.”

The agency was created in 2011 after the Minerals Management Service was renamed and divided up in response to the Deepwater Horizon incident of 2010 in an effort to reform the government’s regulation of offshore energy development and the agency responsible for it.

The class, Berry said, was to teach students how to move on and inspect a working oil rig.

“This is drilling equipment,” Berry said aboard Mr. Charlie during the class session in late April. “The venue is local to the oil and gas industry, and we can stay onshore.”

This entry level course was the first of about 15 in this series to ensure that training for inspectors is thorough and that “no rig goes uninspected.” Every rig is, in fact, inspected annually. While a partial inspection takes an entire day to complete, a full inspection lasts three to five days.

Elizabeth Kramer, Deputy Director of the National Offshore Training and Learning Center, who is located in New Orleans, said the class teaches inspectors, among many other things, how to find discrepancies in logs and to look for standard safety issues aboard a drilling rig or production platform.

Approximately 25 new inspectors hailing from across the Gulf Coast region took part in the class.

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