WASHINGTON, May 3 (UPI) -- The U.S. regulator in charge of offshore oil production said it could extend its authority and slap contractors with penalties in the event of a spill.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement maintains the right to seek regulatory action against contractors for serious violations of its rules, The Wall Street Journal reports.
BOEMRE Director Michael Bromwich added that the authority would be "careful and measured."
The agency typically goes after operators of oil and gas fields who are responsible for oil and gas leases. The oil disaster last year in the Gulf of Mexico, however, prompted Washington to review how offshore work is handled.
BP owned the lease in the Gulf of Mexico but rig owner Transocean and engineering company Halliburton spent much of last year exchanging accusations over who was at fault for the deadly April 2010 disaster.
BP filed a $40 billion lawsuit against Transocean in April, blaming the company for widespread failures at the Deepwater Horizon oil rig.
Bromwich said his agency didn't need new rules in order to extend its authority over contractors.