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Friday AM October 1st, 2010

The Obama Administration has announced new interim rules requiring that offshore drilling rigs certify that they have working blowout preventers and standards for cementing wells. Ed Mayberry reports.


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oil rigInterior Secretary Ken Salazar says that the new rules will improve safety and reduce the chance of catastrophic blowouts such as the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  But Jim Noe with Hercules Offshore says the rules are largely already being complied with, having been foreshadowed in a May 27th Interior Department report. 

“But the devil is always in the details, and so we’re anxious to review the full rules and regulations.  But I think the broader story is that we’re in a dynamic regulatory environment.  Business cannot be planned nor investments made in a regulatory environment which is uncertain and constantly evolving.”

Congressman Kevin Brady says drilling firms will leave the Gulf if the moratorium continues much longer.

“I think our larger companies are beginning to weigh decisions that would divert to other energy opportunities outside of the Gulf and outside the United States.”

The Interior Department says the new rules must be in place before the government lifts a ban on deepwater drilling.  Randy Silley from Seahawk Drilling  is concerned about more regulations that do not address prevention. 

“Quite frankly, all we’ve managed to do is create a regulatory environment that requires more information and more regulation, but I’m not sure that we’ve actually done anything to make life safer offshore.  We haven’t seen anything concrete that addresses the root cause of the incident with Deepwater Horizon.  We’re taking a backward-looking approach that really assumes that we’re likely to have another incident and how we’re going to deal with that more than how do we prevent things from happening in the future.” 

The ban is set to expire November 30th, but officials have said they hope to end it early.