Bromwich: Search for New Offshore Regulator Difficult

Federal regulators have had some difficulty attracting candidates for the job of enforcing safety and environmental rules on offshore oil and gas drillers, Michael Bromwich, director of the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE), said Tuesday.

Bromwich has agreed to remain as head of the new U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) when it spins off from BOEMRE on October 1st. Bromwich said he had originally planned to leave his post after the reorganization, which will also create a separate Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

Speaking at a Platts Energy Podium event in Washington, D.C., Bromwich said, "It's been harder and it's taken longer to find a director for BSEE than we anticipated. Part of the difficulty is finding the right mix of background, skills, abilities and interests."

Bromwich said that to be the new chief regulator, "you've got to have a backbone, you've got to be willing to stand up to pressure and you've got to be able to stand up to political heat. I think that will be the lot of the new BSEE director. He or she will find themselves in the middle of very important and controversial issues and unfortunately a couple of candidates who looked promising have backed out precisely because they didn't want to be in the crucible of politics and deal with some of the public and media and political pressures that this job will inevitably carry with it."

Bromwich said interviews for the post are continuing.

"We've been looking hard for the past several months. We will continue to look very hard in the next few weeks," he said.