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article imageInterior Secretary: Now appropriate to open deep-water drilling Special

By Andrew Moran     Oct 12, 2010 in Politics
Washington - United States Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, and director of Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEM), Michael Bromwich, spoke to reporters about the White House decision to lift ban on deep-water drilling.
Digital Journal reported on Tuesday that the White House has lifted the 7-month ban on deep-water drilling that was applied after the devastating Apr. 20 BP oil spill, which was the largest environmental disaster in U.S. history.
Hours after the announcement, the Interior Secretary and BOEM director spoke at a telephone news conference to outline the “gold standard” for oil and gas operators and specific regulations in place that will allow companies to resume deep-water drilling.
“You will recall that when I made the decision to suspend deep-water drilling, I asked Michael Bromwich to gather information from experts from around the world country, stakeholders interested in the future of deep-water drilling and comments from the public,” said the Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. “That information, upon director Bromwich’s recommendations, will help us to determine as to whether to lift or modify deep-water drilling suspensions before Nov. 30.”
Salazar continued that the BOEM director has spent more than 3 months to gather and evaluate the information available on the critical aspects of safety, spill response and blowout containment. He added that a lot of this essential information came from public forums, which were held around the country by Bromwich himself.
Kenneth Salazar
Kenneth Salazar, Senator from Colorado, Obama designee to be Secretary of the Department of the Interior
Senator Salazar Official Site
After reviewing the report – compiled through information from 40 elected representatives, 60 private sector leaders and 600 comments from the general public – Salazar explained that the government “has made and continues to make significant progress in reducing the risks associated with deep-water drilling.”
Bromwich noted that the offshore drilling operators must comply with “tough new requirements.” He also outlined five key stages that oil and gas operators must conduct during the application process for a proposed drilling development:
- Environmental review
- Permitting stage
- Drilling and production stage
- Blowout containment and spill response
- Enforcement and oversight
“More needs to be and done and will be done to improve the safety of deep-water drilling. The risks have been reduced to allow drilling to resume,” said Bromwich.
File photo: A photograph of the exploratory drilling rig to find crude oil.
File photo: A photograph of the exploratory drilling rig to find crude oil.
For a comprehensive list click here.
In order to comply with safety NTLs, CEOs must certify rigs with new and existing rules. Furthermore, operators must follow dozens of other rules, including a detailed physical inspection and design review of a blowout preventer, submit blowout preventer configuration, submit detailed description of upgrades to prevent a blowout and many others that can be viewed here.
The Interior Secretary explained that they will be reallocating inspectors from other regions to inspect the rigs. Also, they have posted job notices all around the country to “fill slots quickly as we can.” “We don’t have large numbers of people in place; but we do the best we can with the resources we have at our disposal.”
Once operators begin to submit applications, both Salazar and Bromwich agreed that it is unknown when or how many applications will be approved because “nobody knows the future” but Salazar noted that some will be accepted before the end of the year and 20 additional people will be hired to assist in the application process.
Despite the tough new regulations, rules and guidelines, Salazar told reporters: “Our work is not done. This is an important process and will be done through a good amount of prudence.”
More about Ken salazar, Deep-water drilling, Michael bromwich
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