Safety is already the top priority for the US oil and gas industry

RandallLuthi_webThe Hill | April 18, 2016 | Randall Luthi

I agree with Jackie Savitz and Oceana that safety should be the top priority for offshore oil drilling (“It’s time to make offshore drilling safer,” April 8, The Hill’s Contributors Blog). However, she is wrong to imply that is not currently the No. 1 priority or that little has been done to improve safety since the 2010 Deepwater Horizon tragedy. Over the past six years, the oil and gas industry has put sweeping new safety procedures and equipment in place and has worked closely with federal regulators to develop effective new offshore safety regulations.

Ms. Savitz also states that the well control rule proposed by the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) is not perfect. I agree. We have to get it right. That is why the industry diligently attempted to help the BSEE get the rule right, repeatedly voicing concerns about possible unintended consequences of the rule that could lead to less safety and less environmental protection. The final rule was recently released, and many concerns have been addressed.

The truth is that accessing our offshore oil and natural gas resources is safer now than ever, even before the well control becomes effective. As the co-chairs of the national spill commission formed after Deepwater Horizon said in April 2014, “Offshore drilling is safer than it was four years ago” because industry and the government have enhanced spill prevention, containment and response, revised existing standards and regulations and created new ones, and worked hard to foster a strong industry safety culture.

Read the full letter to the editor here.

Randall Luthi is the President of the National Ocean Industries Association

National Ocean Industries Association
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