Deepwater Drilling Ban Could End Soon

The deepwater drilling ban in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico may end well in advance of its Nov. 30 expiration date, the Washington Post quoted Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEM) Michael Bromwich as saying on Aug. 3.

Bromwich will hold a series of eight public forums, the first of which will be held today in New Orleans. The eight hearings, announced last month, public meetings to collect information and views about deepwater drilling safety reforms, blowout containment, and oil spill response. Bromwich will be soliciting input from the general public, state and local leaders, and experts from academia, the environmental community, and the oil and gas industry. The other meetings will take place along the Gulf Coast and in Anchorage, Alaska.

The hearings will determine "whether we can develop a level of comfort on all three issues that would enable the [interior] secretary to lift the moratorium in a principled way" before Nov. 30.

Bromwich also outlined plans to create an assertive federal agency that will police offshore drilling around the U.S. The Washington Post reported that Bromwich had asked the Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to lend him prosecutors and agents, respectively, and he is hiring from the private sector to staff investigations and review units of eight to 10 people that will explore allegations of wrongdoing within the agency and the drilling industry.

BOEM also is drafting new recusal rules for its employees to establish an arm's length relationship between regulators and those they oversee. BOEM also is looking at rules to enhance blowout preventers and other safety devices.

The deepwater drilling ban established a temporary pause of deepwater drilling in order to address issues related to drilling, blowout containment, and oil spill response, including to allow time to collect additional information regarding these issues through public outreach and ongoing investigations into the Deepwater Horizon incident.

The suspensions are set to last until Nov. 30, 2010, or until such earlier time that the Secretary determines that deepwater drilling operations can proceed safely.


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Jeremy | Aug. 11, 2010
I think it is time to go back to work in the GOM because companies want sit around and wait on this to be lifted. They will simply take there equipment overseas and put many Americans out of work. All we can do is learn from what happened and move forward.

Ellen McClelland | Aug. 6, 2010
Ive been in the Oil business for 37 years and this is the first offshore blowout in all of that time. The government needs to stick to its own business and leave private business alone to make it or fail. Ive also worked on 3 BP Platforms and found them to be one of the most safety conscious companies Ive ever worked for. What happened on the Horizon was as simple as BOP failure. There is no other reason for the results than that. Yes BP is ultimately responsible but the manufacturer of the BOP is equally at fault. Offshore drilling NEEDS to be reinstated before all of the oil companies pull out and take all of the jobs overseas. Ive been out of work for 8 months now and have only worked 5.5 months in the past 1.5 years - guess why! Thai country cannot manage without oil and gas not just for our vehicles but in 99% of the products we use on a daily basis. Obama needs to realize this and leave well enough alone. If you haven't worked offshore you will never know the regulations that apply out there already. If you have then you already know what Im talking about. Those of us in this business need to stand up and be counted or we will all be out of work or be forced overseas in order to work!

Barry Keating | Aug. 6, 2010
Conditions in the GoM have been lax for many years, much of which is due to the lack of coordinated approach by the MMS with respect to providing guidelines for safe operating practices, Attention to the requirements for electrical equipment in zoned areas and improvements in the application of risk assessments would help to make operations safer without creating a lot of extra bureaucracy.

Wayne St. Pierre jr | Aug. 5, 2010
Agreed. We need to keep moving forward. The static kill has worked. Now they need to put the drilling rigs back to work so that people can make a living again.

Elgin Flott | Aug. 5, 2010
The continuation of the drilling ban in the Gulf of Mexico will result in higher oil prices as future drilling in that area will be bypassed by the oil companies and drillers in favor of more accessible locations in other areas and the rigs will not return for several years. Thus our country will be forced to purchase crude from more expensive sources.

John Soileau | Aug. 5, 2010
I believe the federal government over reacted to the Horizon incident nothing can bring back those 11 souls that were lost. I also think some investigation should be held and if BP is found to be at fault some criminal charges should filed and the guilty party should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Roe | Aug. 4, 2010
Its a hard choice. At least oil and gas are the most popular energy and it cannot be replaced by other resource now.

michael ledger | Aug. 4, 2010
a lesson has been learned, stronger procedures will be put in place move ahead people need to go to work, don't let politics control this situation


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