Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) Director James Watson is in Houston, Texas meeting oil-and-gas industry officials Monday to discuss drilling safety in shallow Gulf of Mexico waters, the department said.
Watson has been in the area overseeing critical efforts in response to the well blowout that occurred at Walter Oil & Gas' A-3 natural gas well in South Timbalier 220, off the coast of Louisiana.
BSEE is investigating last week's accident that caused a fire to spread to the rig, the Hercules 265 (250' MC) jackup, causing the rig derrick to collapse and burn. The well is no longer leaking but efforts are ongoing to permanently secure it.
“BSEE has already initiated an investigation into the root causes of this incident, and our focus at this time remains on the ongoing response,” Director Watson said, in a Friday release. “All of the workers aboard the platform were safely evacuated before the fire, but complex operations to completely secure the well will be ongoing over the coming weeks and those must be conducted safely and cautiously. Tuesday’s event and other recent incidents serve as a reminder that industry must rededicate its efforts to make safety its top priority, including in shallow water.”
This week Interior Acting Assistant Secretary for Lands and Minerals Management Tommy Beaudreau and Watson will meet with senior executives from companies operating primarily in shallow water in the Gulf of Mexico to discuss the need to remain focused on safety and risk reduction, the department said.
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