Offshore drilling is well into a new era of safety for energy exploration. The oil and natural gas industry has begun working with federal regulators on a comprehensive review of offshore operations. The industry clearly understand that the future of offshore drilling depends on its ability to conduct operations safely. Federal regulators and the public should rest assured. The oil and natural gas industry and the federal government have together taken great strides to enhance the safety of offshore operations.

Four joint industry task forces have reexamined every aspect of offshore drilling, from equipment and operating procedures to subsea well control and oil spill response. Working with experienced regulators from the Department of Interior, industry experts developed new recommendations and standards for operations in both deep and shallow water exploration.

One of the most urgent needs was clearly to boost the rapid response capability for containment in case of a leak. New collaborative containment companies established and now stand ready to deploy state-of-the-art containment technology at the first indication of a spill at the wellhead. The industry is now following newly established or revised standards in areas ranging from well design and cementing to blowout prevention, subsea equipment for capping wells, and protections for workers responding to a spill. The American Petroleum Institute maintains more than 600 industry standards covering all aspects related to production, and more than 100 have been incorporated into federal regulations.

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