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Ocean Energy Safety Institute Proposed

By November 6, 2010

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Deepwater Horizon oil rig on fire in the Gulf of Mexico

Can offshore and deepwater drilling be made safer for people, the environment, and the economy?

Since the Obama administration lifted the moratorium on deepwater oil and gas drilling earlier this month, questions remain about how to prevent future disasters on the scale of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, which claimed 11 lives and took 5 months to plug.

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has proposed an "Ocean Energy Safety Institute" -- a collaborative effort between the Department of Energy, Coast Guard, and industry, academic, and scientific experts.

A Department of the Interior press release says the new institute would "coordinate and prioritize research dollars from a variety of governmental and non-governmental sources to create a center of excellence" that promotes safer deep-water offshore drilling.

Objectives would include: research and development, testing of advanced drilling technology, risk assessment, improved communication and coordination, oversight personnel, and a regulatory framework.

Photo: (c) U.S. Chemical Safety Board

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