Report: Offshore regulator needs outside expertise on technology

Posted on October 28, 2013 at 4:28 pm by Jennifer A. Dlouhy 

An aerial view of the Ensco 8502 drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico. (Jennifer A. Dlouhy/Houston Chronicle)

WASHINGTON — The expertise of the offshore oil and gas industry outmatches the federal agency that oversees it, making it essential that the government reach outside its ranks for insight on the best technology to safeguard the work, according to a report issued Monday.

But the government’s plans for a new independent Ocean Energy Safety Institute to help keep pace with the offshore oil industry needs changes to meet the challenge, said the National Academy of Sciences.

“If properly organized, staffed and supported, (the institute) could go a long way toward solving problems associated with a government agency competing with industry for top talent and expertise,” the report said. But “the scale and structure of the institute . . . will need to be significantly expanded to address fully the challenges posed offshore.”

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