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U.S. formalizes offshore safety rule

Aug. 17, 2012 at 8:27 AM

WASHINGTON, Aug. 17 (UPI) -- The U.S. government said it finalized safety reforms for offshore drilling enacted after the Deepwater Horizon accident in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

A rule enacted after the 2010 oil spill in the gulf calls for strengthened blowout prevention practices for oil and natural gas operations in U.S. waters.

Jim Watson, director of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, said the rules are designed to improve offshore drilling safety.

"This rule makes final important standards that were put in place shortly after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and is based on input from stakeholders and recommendations from the numerous investigations related to that tragedy," he said in a statement.

The initial measure was enacted under emergency order. The rule, the BSEE said, improves on regulations regarding well operations as well as safety and verification requirements.

"The oil and gas industry has been operating under these enhanced safety requirements for the past two years," said Watson.

Last month, the non-profit Marine Well Containment Co. tested its 100-ton capping system to the Gulf of Mexico in a simulated well failure like that which triggered the 2010 spill.

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