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Thread: Trump To Rollback Deepwater Horizon Regulations

  1. #1

    Trump To Rollback Deepwater Horizon Regulations

    The Trump administration is hoping to slash regulations on offshore oil drilling that were implemented after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster that killed nearly a dozen people and led to an oil leak that spewed for months.
    According to the Wall Street Journal, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), which is the agency housed in the Interior Department that regulates offshore oil drilling, is proposing a rollback of a series of changes made after the 2010 disaster.
    BSEE says that the cuts will save the oil industry $900 million over ten years. The proposal has not been made public, but the WSJ reports that some of the changes include easing rules that require the streaming of real-time data of oil production operations to facilities onshore, which allows regulators to see what is going on. Another rule that would be removed requires third-party inspectors of equipment, such as the blowout preventer, to receive certification by BSEE.
    Another example includes alterations to the “well-control rule,” one of the signature regulations that was implemented by the Obama administration after years of review following BP’s oil spill. The well-control rule required the use of certain safety equipment and operations intended to reduce the risk of another disaster.
    But the Trump administration, in a nod to the oil industry, has proposed deleting the word “safe” from a section of the rule, the WSJ reports, which would restrict BSEE’s ability to withhold permits. “Based on BSEE experience during the implementation of the original [well control rule], BSEE has concluded that the term ‘safe’ creates ambiguity in that it could be read to suggest that additional unspecified standards, beyond those expressly stated, may be imposed in the approval of proposed drilling margins,” BSEE wrote in a justification of the rule change, according to the WSJ.
    The upshot is a weaker regulatory regime over offshore oil and gas drilling and it comes at a time that Trump’s Interior Department is also moving to expand drilling not just in the Gulf of Mexico, but eventually in the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans.

    The current head of BSEE said earlier this year that the Obama administration overstepped when it put in place regulations on drilling. “It was obvious to me that back then there was a conclusion that it was a systemic problem, and yet I don’t believe there was evidence at the time that it was a systemic problem,” Scott Angelle, the director of BSEE, said in June.
    BSEE now argues that the oil industry has learned from its mistakes, and has incorporated changes since the 2010 incident, and thus, does not need heavy government oversight.

    More at: https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-G...gulations.html
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  5. #4
    Wasn't the problem with the regulations even BEFORE the D.H. incident which caused them to have to drill deeper out at sea where it was actually more risky to do so?

  6. #5
    Good. He's not wrong. The word "safe" is an ambiguous term. It allows permits to be issued or denied based on political agendas, not concrete formulations for overall safety.

  7. #6
    Wall Street Journal "discovers" this six months late and somehow they are the newspaper of record on the issue? Please! Changing WCR was going to be the highest priority for Scott Angelle following his confirmation. Where were the outraged Senate Dems during that process? This is called investigative journalism?

    https://www.pesa.org/archives/bsee-t...-control-rule/

    During the conference call, which was led by BSEE Director Scott Angelle, technical experts from industry discussed the issues and recommendations captured in a Joint Trade letter submitted to BSEE in May. At the close of the discussion, Director Angelle indicated BSEE plans to move forward with revising the WCR. As a first step in the process,
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  8. #7
    The Trump administration is moving to relax some offshore drilling requirements imposed in response to the Deepwater Horizon disaster but is rebuffing the oil industry’s plea for bigger changes.
    Proposed rule changes unveiled Friday include easing mandates for real-time monitoring of offshore operations and some other measures safety advocates and environmentalists said were necessary to prevent a repeat of the disastrous 2010 Gulf of Mexico spill.
    The shift to loosen requirements comes alongside a Trump administration push to dramatically expand offshore oil development by selling drilling rights in more than 90 percent of the U.S. outer continental shelf.
    However, the administration rejected an array of bigger changes sought by oil companies, including their appeal to undo a strict specification for how much pressure must be maintained inside wells to keep them in check.

    Many provisions of the Obama-era well control rule are being left untouched, including some requirements designed to boost the reliability of blowout preventers, the hulking devices made famous in the BP spill because the one sitting on top of the Macondo well failed to stop the lethal surge of oil and explosive gas. The heart of blowout preventers are their sealing and shearing blades, which can be activated in emergencies to sever drill pipe in a well and close it off, keeping rushing oil and gas locked within.


    Under the new proposal, companies would still be required to conduct more frequent testing of underwater blowout preventers, swiftly report when parts fail and use a second set of shearing rams to increase the likelihood of slashing through drill pipe and helping seal an open well hole. However the bureau is proposing to lift a requirement that third-party vendors who test blowout preventers and other equipment be certified by the agency.
    The safety bureau also is proposing to spike a provision that forces offshore facilities to halt production whenever they are approached by lift boats that transport equipment to the sites.
    And the agency is rewriting a mandate meant to ensure both regulators and oil companies can keep a close watch on distant, deep-water drilling operations by laying out specific requirements for streaming real-time data to facilities onshore. The text of the proposed rule was not made available for review, but a fact sheet summarizing it says the agency is aiming to revise some "prescriptive requirements" so companies have more flexibility in how they handle data without jeopardizing "the benefits of real-time monitoring."
    Oil industry trade groups, their congressional allies and companies, such as Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp., and Anadarko Petroleum Corp., had lobbied for changes in the well control rule imposed under former President Barack Obama, generally asserting it was overly prescriptive, increased costs and in some cases could actually imperil safety.
    The Interior Department said its proposal would save industry about $95 million annually.
    Erik Milito, a director at the American Petroleum Institute, said the proposed changes "will move us forward on safety, help the government better regulate risks and better protect workers and the environment."
    The safety bureau is so far rebuffing one major industry appeal by refusing to rewrite a standard for an acceptable "drilling margin" specifying the precise balance between the drilling fluids that are pumped under the sea floor and the amount of pressure the underground formation can take before it cracks. Industry representatives had argued the strict standard was too rigid and that the government’s waiver process didn’t provide enough certainty for investment.
    The bureau isn’t completely ruling out changes to that drilling margin requirement. Instead, it is inviting oil companies and other stakeholders to answer questions about how the standard is working during a 60-day public comment period.

    More at: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/artic...n-trump-reform
    Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.

    Robert Heinlein

    Give a man an inch and right away he thinks he's a ruler

    Groucho Marx

    I love mankind…it’s people I can’t stand.

    Linus, from the Peanuts comic

    You cannot have liberty without morality and morality without faith

    Alexis de Torqueville

    Those who fail to learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.
    Those who learn from the past are condemned to watch everybody else repeat it

    A Zero Hedge comment



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