The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Presidential Commission Fails to Recognize Safety Improvements

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted January 11, 2011

The American Petroleum Institute (API) today said the industry already has taken significant action to improve offshore safety operations consistent with the recommendations of the presidential commission investigating the Deepwater Horizon accident.

In a statement released this morning, API's Upstream Director Erik Milito said the presidential commission on the Deepwater Horizon accident did "a great disservice to the thousands of men and women" who work in the oil and natural gas industry by "casting doubt on an entire industry based on its review of a single incident."

"The explosion was a tragic accident that never should have happened," Erik said. "But an accurate assessment must acknowledge all the facts such as the numerous concrete actions that the industry has taken both before and since the accident to identify and implement additional safeguards, as well as the many recommendations made by the industry that have already been adopted by the government and industry."

The oil and natural gas industry has a strong safety record and considers safety a core value. It is committed to a goal of zero injuries and zero incidents.

Since the 1920s, the API Standards Program has provided an ongoing opportunity for improvement by oil and natural gas companies. More than 235 exploration and production standards to maintain and improve operational safety have been developed. Eighty of them are referenced in government regulations. More information about the standards program and safety program can be found on the Energy Tomorrow Scribd page.

"We hope that the administration recognizes the work already done and the need to rapidly restore vibrancy to the nation's offshore oil and natural gas program," Erik said today. "Both the nation's energy security and our recovering economy demand it."

Erik added that API is pleased the commission is recommending increased funding for the federal agency responsible for inspecting and monitoring offshore activity. Interior Department officials have stated they need additional resources to oversee offshore exploration and production. The industry is hopeful that efforts will be made to speed the process of approving new wells in the Gulf in Mexico.

About 30 percent of U.S. oil supplies and 13 percent of natural gas supplies are produced in the Gulf. About 70 percent of that oil and 36 percent of the natural gas is produced by deepwater operations.