The American Petroleum Institute said today that the industry has already taken significant action to further improve safety in offshore operations consistent with the recommendations of the presidential commission on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and offshore drilling. API Upstream Director Erik Milito said the group is still in the process of reviewing the commission's report but is pleased the commission is recommending increased funding for the federal agency responsible for inspecting and monitoring offshore activity. However, he said API is deeply concerned that the commission's report casts doubt on an entire industry based on its study of a single incident.
"This does a great disservice to the thousands of men and women who work in the industry and have the highest personal and professional commitment to safety," Milito said.
Since the Gulf accident, says API, the industry has taken numerous steps to further improve safety, supplementing already-strong existing recommended practices to help industry maintain safe offshore operations. For example, one of those recommended practices, API RP 75 was recently adopted by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Regulation and Enforcement as part of its regulations.
API has begun the process of creating an industry safety program for deepwater operations that will build on API RP 75 and help to further drive a culture of excellence throughout the offshore industry. That program will draw from the best practices in the nuclear and chemical industries and use independent, third-party auditing to measure performance.
"The explosion was a tragic accident that never should have happened," said Milito. "But an accurate assessment must acknowledge all the facts, such as the numerous concrete actions that industry has taken both before and since the accident to identify and implement additional safeguards, as well as the many recommendations made by the industry that have already been adopted by the government and industry.
"We hope that the administration recognizes the work already done and the need to rapidly restore vibrancy to the nation's offshore oil and natural gas production program," Milito said. "Both the nation's energy security and our recovering economy demand it."
The API statement does not directly address criticisms its role made in the Commission's report. Among these were that "because they would make oil and gas industry operations potentially more costly, API regularly resists agency rulemakings that government regulators believe would make those operations safer, and API favors rulemaking that promotes industry autonomy from government oversight" and that API-proposed safety standards have increasingly failed to reflect 'best industry practices' and have instead expressed the 'lowest common denominator'- in other words, a standard that almost all operators could readily achieve."
January 11, 2011