President Obama has released the official rules for offshore drilling safety which will now replace the interim rules introduced following the 2010 Gulf of Mexico Disaster.
The rules clarify the requirements that operators of offshore wells must follow in relation to the well-control barriers and the installation of mechanical barriers, the testing of cement used in the sealing of wells, the methods for blowout prevention, and the procedures for decommissioning operations.
The new rules will cost the industry an extra $130.7 million a year due to the increased number of inspections, tests, and new equipment that they demand.
However environmentalists are still not happy, claiming that the rules are not tough enough, especially as companies are moving into the Arctic and drilling ever deeper wells in the Gulf.
David Pettit, a senior attorney at the New York- based Natural Resources Defense Council, said to Bloomberg that the new rule “is stronger than the interim rule but not strong enough. It should require real-world testing of the response time for containment of a wild well.”
By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com
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