2010 was a defining year for the offshore oil and gas industry in the United States. On April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) floating drilling rig suffered a catastrophic explosion and fire. Eleven men died in the explosion - 17 others were injured. The fire, which burned for a day and a half, eventually sent the entire rig to the bottom of the sea. The extent of the spill was enormous, and the environmental damage is still being evaluated.
Following DWH the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulations and Enforcement (BOEMRE) issued many new regulations. One of them is the Safety and Environmental System (SEMS) rule, which is based on the American Petroleum Instituteâs SEMP recommended practice. Companies have to be in full compliance with its extensive requirements by November 15, 2011.