API Briefs Oil Spill Task Forces

In the wake of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the U.S. oil and natural gas industry has formed two task forces to address both short- and long-term issues related to offshore equipment and offshore operating practices.

"This tragic incident requires that we re-double our commitment to continually improve safety and response practices," said API President and CEO Jack Gerard. "Our industry accepts that challenge. We owe it to the workers who were lost and to the others, particularly along the Gulf Coast, bearing the burden of the accident. We also owe it to the nation that has placed its trust in us to responsibly develop oil and natural gas off its coasts. The ultimate goal of these task forces is to improve safety and environmental performance by learning from any gaps identified from this tragedy."

In the very near term, the task forces will bring together relevant experts to identify and further reduce risks of offshore operations. The task forces also will work in conjunction with the SWAT teams that BP is presently assembling and help ensure that all response efforts are coordinated. In the longer term, the task forces will share lessons learned from the review of the Deepwater Horizon incident and update API standards on an ongoing basis.

Among other things, the offshore equipment task force, which will bring together equipment manufacturers, industry subsea equipment specialists and deepwater contractors, will focus on maintenance, response and testing of blowout-preventer equipment and remotely operated vehicles (ROVs). The offshore operating procedures task force will leverage the expertise of offshore operators and members of the service sector to strengthen practices related to drilling and completion of deepwater wells. API looks forward to government participation on both task forces.