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Report pushes for offshore drilling safety

Dec. 14, 2011 at 9:42 PM

WASHINGTON, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- Companies involved in offshore drilling should take a system-wide look at everything the process involves to anticipate possible problems, a U.S. report said.

A study requested by the U.S. Department of the Interior and conducted by the National Academy of Engineering and National Research Council said every company involved in offshore drilling must take a "system safety" approach prior to engaging in the process.

The investigatory report was begun May 11, 2010, at the direction of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, to determine the root cause of the Deepwater Horizon gulf oil spill, an Interior Department release said.

The report said entities involved in offshore drilling should anticipate and manage possible dangers before they happen, from ensuring the integrity of wells to designing blowout preventers that function "under all foreseeable conditions."

The study indicated a need for a beefed-up regulatory approach, with mandated oversight at critical points during drilling.

The report blamed lack of effective safety management and numerous bungled decisions by companies involved in the Macondo Well-Deepwater Horizon drilling project disaster that killed 11 people and produced the largest oil spill in the history of the United States.

"This independent, science-based analysis of what went wrong in the lead up to the blowout has helped to affirm the tremendous efforts we have made in the last 18 months to raise the bar for safety and oversight of offshore oil and gas operations," Salazar said.

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