NOIA responds to Commission report

The National Oil Spill Commission’s Final Report – Deepwater: The Gulf Oil Disaster and the Future of Offshore Drilling puts forth recommendations that should be vetted, aired, and in some cases possibly implemented, says NOIA President Randall Luthi.

Offshore staff

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Oil Spill Commission’s Final Report – Deepwater: The Gulf Oil Disaster and the Future of Offshore Drilling puts forth recommendations that should be vetted, aired, and in some cases possibly implemented, says NOIA President Randall Luthi.

“The Commission went through a thoughtful, lengthy, deliberative process and now it is time for Congress and industry to do the same…,” Luthi says.

“However, the report is not an indictment of offshore oil and gas production. While many opposed to offshore exploration will undoubtedly use the report to bolster their calls to stop offshore oil and gas development, even the Commission members themselves recognize the importance of moving ahead with additional development.”

Among other NOIA comments on the report are the following:

● We object to the Commission’s insistence on there being a ‘systemic’ problem throughout the industry. This is not supported by the facts. Over 43,000 wells have been drilled in the Gulf of Mexico without a Macondo-like incident. Over 14,000 wells have been drilled in the deepwater Gulf without a Macondo-like accident. This is not because the industry has been lucky. Nor does this disaster-free record show a culture of complacency.

● The Commission’s recommendation for the industry to establish a self-regulating body or safety institute is certainly worth more discussion and study. A regulatory agency, no matter how well staffed and armed, will never be efficient or successful without the industry’s technical expertise and experience. And a self-regulating subset of industry will never have credibility and trust of the American public without the proper oversight of a federal regulatory agency.

● The Commission wanders off the range with its recommendations that Alaska offshore energy production is stopped until better Coast Guard response mechanisms can be developed and deployed. Such a pronouncement ignores the years of planning that companies and regulators have already spent understanding the intricacies of safe Arctic operations, deeming them inadequate and inferring that the Coast Guard is the only response capability that matters.

● At a time when the issuance of both deepwater and shallow water drilling permits have nearly stopped, the Commission’s recommendation that permitting timelines be delayed further is misguided.

1/12/2011

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