Luthi: The right message from Deepwater Horizon

The Hill-01The Hill | October 25, 2016 | Randall Luthi

Recently, the Peter Berg film Deepwater Horizon provided the Hollywood version of the Macondo Well accident. Putting the inaccuracies and biased slant aside, the film rightly reminded us of the bravery and sacrifice of the 126 men and women who were on the rig when the accident occurred in April 2010, and especially the 11 crew members who died.

We owe it to that crew, and to the hundreds of thousands of Americans who depend on the offshore energy industry for their livelihoods, to continually raise the safety standard offshore. Safety is a process, not an endpoint.

Over the past six-and-a-half years, the industry has developed new safety equipment and improved safety procedures that are being adopted worldwide and more than 100 new or revised industry standards have been issued. Industry and government have also worked together to ensure a more coordinated effort to prevent future spills and to respond more effectively when they occur. Some examples include:

  • A Center for Offshore Safety, established by industry, partnered with the regulatory community, and endowed with a mission to ensure that the latest advances and innovations in safety technologies and practices are shared broadly among industry players.
  • Collaboration between the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that has led to updated district protection plans.
  • New technologies designed to prevent spills and clean them up faster, including one developed by one of my group’s members that can be deployed to collect oil flowing from a deepwater well almost immediately after an incident occurs.
  • Lessons from the use of chemical dispersants following the Deepwater Horizon incident that will help us to use them more effectively and with less environmental impact in the future.

Read the full op-ed here.

Randall Luthi is the President of NOIA.