Nye: Learning the lessons of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill

NN White headWashington Examiner | April 20, 2016 | Nicolette Nye

The sixth anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon accident, which claimed the lives of 11 brave men and set off the largest offshore oil spill in our nation's history, reminds us that we must always be vigilant when it comes to offshore energy development and that our first priority must be the safety of workers, coastal communities and the environment.

Over a year ago, the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) proposed a new rule to tighten standards on offshore well blowout preventers and controls how companies drill and monitor these wells. The oil and gas industry diligently attempted to help BSEE get the rule right, repeatedly voicing concerns about unintended consequences that could lead to less safety and less environmental protection.

A Wood McKenzie study showed that implementation of the proposal could risk 100,000 jobs, cost the U.S. economy upwards of $400 billion, and jeopardize as much as 35 percent of offshore energy production. The final version of the rule, released last week, addresses many industry concerns. However, it still has the potential to actually increase risk and reduce safety, leading to a de facto moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico with very definite negative impacts on the economy.

Industry shares the government's goal of enhancing offshore safety while producing more oil and natural gas here at home. However, the safe exploration and production of offshore energy beyond where it takes place today, as part of a broad-based energy portfolio, is key to maintaining our nation's position as the global leader in energy production.

Read the full editorial here.

Nicolette Nye is the Vice President, Communications & Industry Affairs for the National Ocean Industries Association 

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