Monday, February 14, 2011

BOEMRE – Oil Spill Containment Systems Not Ready Yet

HOUSTON (Dow Jones)–Oil companies haven’t been able to show that they can effectively respond to a future oil spill in the deep-water Gulf of Mexico–and until they do so, U.S. regulators will not let them drill there, the head of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement said Friday.
Even though the oil industry “has been working hard” and made substantial progress toward developing an oil spill containment system, “it has not been able to fully demonstrate it has the systems in place to respond to a blowout in deep-water,” Michael R. Bromwich said at an offshore energy conference in Houston. “It would be simply irresponsible” to allow deep-water drilling without knowing a blowout similar to the one that led to a massive oil spill last year can be controlled, he said.
Bromwich’s agency has been criticized for holding back on permits despite the official end of a deepwater drilling moratorium, effectively paralyzing the offshore oil industry. But the official said that the industry knows that “containment capabilities aren’t there yet,” although “they will be there soon,” paving the way for permits approval..

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