A report released yesterday by the chief counsel of the presidential commission on the Deepwater Horizon accident gives us further insight into the causes of the Macondo well blowout and subsequent rig explosion.
In reviewing the detail of the report, it is clear that despite what the commission said in its original report released in January, what happened at Macondo was not evidence of “systemic failures” by industry and government regulators. The report’s findings align with what we as an industry have found in the more than 14,000 deep-water wells drilled worldwide: When you follow established procedures and practices, incidents like the Deepwater Horizon do not happen.
You can read the full report online at this link.
The fact is that the industry is capable of operating safely in the Gulf of Mexico, and Americans benefit from the economic activity and energy security those operations provide. U.S. Gulf of Mexico production accounts for 30 percent of all U.S. crude oil production. It supports millions of dollars of economic activity in the Gulf region, as well as thousands of direct and indirect jobs.
It’s clear that the time has come to get back to work in the Gulf, but the federal government’s permitting program for the Gulf has stalled progress. A federal judge in New Orleans recognized the economic ramifications of continued permit delays just yesterday when he gave the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management 30 days to make a decision on five permits for deep-water drilling projects in the Gulf of Mexico.
The decision to resume deep-water permitting in the Gulf can be made with confidence now that an interim spill response system is available in the region. Yesterday, the Marine Well Containment Company announced the completion of the system, which can operate in water depths up to 8,000 feet and has storage and processing capacity for up to 60,000 barrels per day of liquids.
The deep-water resources in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico are too important to our economic and energy security to lay idle. With the release of yesterday’s report, and with a spill response system now in place, we can and should resume safe operations in the Gulf.