• 13 hours U.S. Oil Production To Increase in November As Rig Count Falls
  • 15 hours Gazprom Neft Unhappy With OPEC-Russia Production Cut Deal
  • 17 hours Disputed Venezuelan Vote Could Lead To More Sanctions, Clashes
  • 18 hours EU Urges U.S. Congress To Protect Iran Nuclear Deal
  • 20 hours Oil Rig Explosion In Louisiana Leaves 7 Injured, 1 Still Missing
  • 21 hours Aramco Says No Plans To Shelve IPO
  • 3 days Trump Passes Iran Nuclear Deal Back to Congress
  • 4 days Texas Shutters More Coal-Fired Plants
  • 4 days Oil Trading Firm Expects Unprecedented U.S. Crude Exports
  • 4 days UK’s FCA Met With Aramco Prior To Proposing Listing Rule Change
  • 4 days Chevron Quits Australian Deepwater Oil Exploration
  • 4 days Europe Braces For End Of Iran Nuclear Deal
  • 4 days Renewable Energy Startup Powering Native American Protest Camp
  • 5 days Husky Energy Set To Restart Pipeline
  • 5 days Russia, Morocco Sign String Of Energy And Military Deals
  • 5 days Norway Looks To Cut Some Of Its Generous Tax Breaks For EVs
  • 5 days China Set To Continue Crude Oil Buying Spree, IEA Says
  • 5 days India Needs Help To Boost Oil Production
  • 5 days Shell Buys One Of Europe’s Largest EV Charging Networks
  • 5 days Oil Throwback: BP Is Bringing Back The Amoco Brand
  • 5 days Libyan Oil Output Covers 25% Of 2017 Budget Needs
  • 5 days District Judge Rules Dakota Access Can Continue Operating
  • 6 days Surprise Oil Inventory Build Shocks Markets
  • 6 days France’s Biggest Listed Bank To Stop Funding Shale, Oil Sands Projects
  • 6 days Syria’s Kurds Aim To Control Oil-Rich Areas
  • 6 days Chinese Teapots Create $5B JV To Compete With State Firms
  • 6 days Oil M&A Deals Set To Rise
  • 6 days South Sudan Tightens Oil Industry Security
  • 6 days Over 1 Million Bpd Remain Offline In Gulf Of Mexico
  • 7 days Turkmenistan To Spend $93-Billion On Oil And Gas Sector
  • 7 days Indian Hydrocarbon Projects Get $300 Billion Boost Over 10 Years
  • 7 days Record U.S. Crude Exports Squeeze North Sea Oil
  • 7 days Iraq Aims To Reopen Kirkuk-Turkey Oil Pipeline Bypassing Kurdistan
  • 7 days Supply Crunch To Lead To Oil Price Spike By 2020s, Expert Says
  • 7 days Saudi Arabia Ups November Oil Exports To 7-Million Bpd
  • 7 days Niger Delta State Looks To Break Free From Oil
  • 7 days Brazilian Conglomerate To Expand Into Renewables
  • 8 days Kurdish Independence Could Spark Civil War
  • 8 days Chevron, Total Waiting In The Wings As Shell Mulls Majnoon Exit
  • 8 days The Capital Of Coal Is Looking For Other Options

U.S. to Restructure Offshore Drilling Regulatory Agency in Wake of Oil Spill

The Obama administration said it will restructure the little-known agency overseeing offshore drilling, splitting is regulatory oversight duties from its lease management responsibilities – a joint task critics say is rife with conflict of interest.

U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said he will separate the safety and environmental enforcement activities of the Minerals Management Service into a separate, independent entity, after the agency has been blamed for decisions that may have led to the accident at Deepwater Horizon and the subsequent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

 “The job of ensuring energy companies are following the law and protecting the safety of their workers and the environment is a big one, and should be independent from other missions of the agency,” Salazar said in a statement.

The MMS is also responsible for leasing offshore sites, collecting the royalties due the government, and permitting of operations. Critics say these duties give the agency a vested interest in higher profit at the oil companies, which may interfere with its regulatory decisions.

The agency erupted briefly into notoriety in 2008 when the department’s inspector general found that employees in its Denver office, responsible for royalty collections, had parties with energy company representatives, had sex and used drugs with them, and accepted gifts, ski trips and golf junkets. Several of the employees were fired and others disciplined.

MMS has been blamed for specific actions that may have led to the Deepwater Horizon disaster – including a decision last year that an acoustically-controlled shut-off valve, a standard safety feature in European offshore rigs, would not be required at the site. The agency also provided a waiver to BP exempting the oil giant from conducting an environmental analysis for the site because the risk of a spill in that area of the Gulf was “minimal or nonexistent.”

According to the Center for Biological Diversity, an environmental group in Tucson, Ariz., MMS has approved 27 new offshore drilling operations since the April 20 accident in the Gulf, exempting all but one of them from environmental review. Two of the new operations approved were submitted by BP, which made the same assertions on drilling safety as it had for Deepwater Horizon, the group said.

By. Darrell Delamaide




Back to homepage


Leave a comment

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News