Deepwater Horizon Incident Leads to Regulatory Reforms

photo : Upstream Today

As efforts continue to stop the flow of oil and manage the environmental impacts of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, the US Government has indicated that it will implement a series of regulatory reforms to minimise the risk of such an incident happening again.

Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, has announced a series of reforms that will provide federal inspectors more tools, more resources, more independence, and greater authority to enforce laws and regulations that apply to oil and gas companies operating in US offshore areas.

Meanwhile, the question of blame is making the headlines. It was reported this week that US oil industry regulator the Minerals Management Service did not enforce the installation of a secondary shutdown system to give back up in the case of failure of the blow out valve. It is also reported that the various parties involved in the incident are already pointing the finger at each other in apportioning blame.

The immediate issues must be resolved by all parties working together to stop the leak and to address the environmental situation in the most effective manner possible. Detailed investigations and apportionment of blame will undoubtedly follow.

A technically sound and proven back up safety system has to be designed and implemented on similar offshore patforms. This is, in my view, essential in order to avoid a major loss of public and government support for the offshore oil and gas industry. With a significant proportion of the world's offshore reserves being located offshore, failure to do something different is not an option.

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