Democrats' report damns offshore safety

WASHINGTON, May 13 (UPI) -- Democrats on a House energy committee said major risks remain for offshore energy explorers more than three years after the BP oil spill.

Staff members of U.S. Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass, ranking member of the House Natural Resources Committee, compiled a safety review of offshore oil and gas operations in the Gulf of Mexico.


"Oil and gas companies with the worst safety records in the gulf before the BP disaster continue to spill oil, lose control of their wells and rack up safety violations today," Markey said in a statement.

The 15-page report from Markey's staff said the number of rig accidents offshore is down 50 percent during the last two years. Stronger regulations from the U.S. Department of Interior were credited with worker safety improvements in the report.

The report, however, said BP and Chevron were among the supermajors that were listed as "top violators." Apache Corp. was listed among major companies that had well-control issues in the last two years.

Markey said his Republican counterparts were to blame for refusing to pass legislation that would improve offshore drilling safety. Republican leaders in the House of Representatives have, in general, pressed for fewer restrictions on domestic oil and natural gas exploration.


Companies named in the report didn't publish responses to Markey's statements. His report hasn't been adopted by the full House Committee on Natural Resources.

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