As part of the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to improving the safety and environmental sustainability of offshore energy development, the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement and the U.S. Department of Energy have entered into a cooperative agreement with Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station to support the ongoing operation and maintenance of the Ocean Energy Safety Institute (OESI).
“The Ocean Energy Safety Institute is another example of how the Department of Energy is working with government and non-governmental partners to advance offshore energy safety and ensure a skilled workforce for ocean energy,” said Acting Assistant Secretary of Energy Efficiency and Renewable
, Energy, Kelly Speakes-Backman. “The expansion of offshore wind and monitoring equipment powered by marine energy will be important contributors to the President’s goals of a carbon-free electricity sector by 2035 and a clean energy economy with net-zero emissions by 2050.”
“The Ocean Energy Safety Institute is an important example of how cooperative efforts between academia, government, industry, and other non-governmental organizations can be used to improve both worker safety and environmental sustainability,” said Interior’s Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management, Laura Daniel-Davis. “The OESI will support critical improvements for all offshore energy activities, including renewable and traditional energy, as well as support new offshore energy technology development.”
"We are excited about this collaboration with the Department of the Interior and the opportunity this will provide for cooperative research between academia, government, and industry,” said DOE Acting Assistant Secretary of Fossil Energy, Dr. Jennifer Wilcox. “This effort will work to both mitigate offshore environmental risks by improving technologies to prevent oil spills while developing new offshore renewable energy solutions.”
With a budget of up to $40 million over a five-year period, Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station will be responsible for managing the OESI, providing input on yearly objectives, facilitating research and development (R&D) related to offshore oil, natural gas, wind, and marine and hydrokinetic energy, implementing operational improvements in the areas of offshore drilling safety, and increasing environmental protection, blowout containment, and oil spill prevention and response.
“This cooperative agreement will strengthen the government’s world-class program of R&D related to offshore oil, natural gas, wind, and marine hydrokinetic energy production, with a focus on safety, environmental monitoring, and operational improvements,” said BSEE Office of Offshore Regulatory Programs Chief, Stacey Noem.
BSEE and DOE will provide expertise, direction, and oversight of the OESI through a Joint Steering Committee (JSC), but the OESI will operate independently of the two agencies. The JSC will include representatives from each agency with expertise related to oil and gas, offshore wind, and marine and hydrokinetic energy technologies.
The Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station focuses on applied research in national security, energy, health care, infrastructure and manufacturing.