The Obama administration proposed tighter rules for the offshore drilling equipment designed to be the last line of defense against oil-well blowouts, five years after the fatal BP Plc spill off Louisiana fouled the Gulf of Mexico.
The proposal Monday by the Interior Department builds on standards industry has set for so-called blowout preventers since the April 2010 disaster on the Deepwater Horizon rig, and establishes schedules for maintenance and repair. If adopted, the rules would mandate outside audits of equipment, require each device to have a backup shear to cut a pipe, and call for real-time monitoring onshore for heat and pressure at the well. “The well-control rule specifically responds to a number of recommendations from those investigating” the BP spill, Jewell said on a media conference call. “As offshore production continues to grow, we owe it to the American people to ensure the resource is being developed safely.” Offshore drilling safety has gained additional political significance as President Barack Obama has proposed opening up areas along the Southeastern U.S. coast for oil drilling for the first time.
The Interior Department also is grappling with the application by Royal Dutch Shell Plc to explore in Alaska’s Arctic seas, and has proposed separate standards for drilling in those harsh northern conditions.
This article has been extracted from http://www.rigzone.com, please click on this link to read the article in full /news/oil_gas/a/138091/Obama_Proposes_New_Rules_For_Offshore_Oil_Wells.
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