Offshore Drilling in the Americas Becomes a Safer Venture?

Deepwater drilling is set to become a safer endeavor, as regulatory bodies impose tough new policies for drilling equipment, states a new report by industry experts GBI Research.

The new report states that new proposals to make Blow-Out Preventer [BOP] technology on deepwater and ultra-deepwater rigs more safe and effective have now been incorporated by the US Department of the Interior.

Government regulations concerning offshore oil and gas exploration and drilling activities drastically change the industry, forcing companies to modify their business development strategies in accordance with environmental, legal, and safety agreements. Restrictions on offshore activity by local governments, such as the 2010 deepwater drilling moratorium in the United States, also significantly affect the drilling industry.

The 2010 Deepwater Horizon incident in the US Gulf of Mexico provoked countries in Europe to impose stricter regulations on offshore drilling in their territories, including Norway, the world's second-largest gas exporter and sixth-largest oil exporter.

In September 2011, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement declared that the US government would soon be launching a detailed procedure designed to strengthen the standards which govern offshore well design and the emergency equipment used to protect operations. Enhancing drilling safety for operating crews and environmental protection represent prime objectives of this procedure.

New regulations will push BOP technology development towards a safer design, which enables a rig to completely seal off an offshore well in case of emergencies. The proposal will also impose regulations for the quality of maintenance services, the training of personnel, and subsea sensing technology. The US Department of the Interior aims to set international standards for BOP management through this new regulation.


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