US wants oil players to prove spill control
Oil and gas companies that want to drill offshore will have to prove they have the equipment in place to immediately contain any spills, the US Interior Department said today as it seeks to improve safety following the massive BP oil spill this summer.
The new requirements, which were spelled out in a notice to companies leasing federal offshore tracts, must be met before new drilling permits are issued.
The move is the latest in a series of rules that companies must meet to explore for oil and gas, which companies complain has created a slow, if not an unofficial moratorium, on new drilling permits, Reuters reported.
“This will serve to confirm that oil and gas companies are accountable and responsible for their operations as we work to strengthen safety, oversight and environmental protection at every stage of the drilling process,” said US Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.
The department is requiring, effective immediately, that each company wanting to drill in deep water must submit a statement signed by an authorised company official that confirms the operator has complied with all regulations, including the new drilling safety rule previously issued.
For drilling companies using blowout preventers on the sea floor or BOPs on floating facilities, the department will look at whether an offshore operator has subsea containment and capture equipment, including containment domes and capping stacks.
An operator may also need to have subsea equipment to release oil spill dispersant and to control hydrates from forming in containment domes.
Other equipment that may be required are pipe rising systems, remotely operated vehicles, vessels to capture oil and support boats, and facilities to store the spilled oil.