The US oil and natural gas industry has
significantly improved offshore safety, according to Erik
Milito, group director of upstream and industry operations at
the American Petroleum Institute (API), in testimony delivered
this week to the US Senate Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere,
Fisheries, and Coast Guard.
Milito said that safety and offshore energy
development in the Gulf can go hand in hand.
"Great strides have been made to enhance the
industrys capability to prevent an incident from
happening, to cap and contain a leaking well, and to respond to
a spill, and were committed to building on this
progress," Milito said.
"Were ready to fully resume operations in the
Gulf, Alaska and other areas and put thousands of people back
The Macondo incident was unprecedented, but so too
was the industry response, Milito said.
Based on the work of various industry task forces,
improvements have been made in prevention, capping and
containment, and spill response.
Task force recommendations are driving improvement
in standards and practices related to well design and
installation, and the industry now has the capability to
quickly contain and cap a well in very deep water.
The industry also has initiated projects to further improve oil
spill response, he said.
Going forward, Milito said, the industrys new
Center for Offshore Safety, which is expected to be up and
running later this year, will help the industry develop and
implement "safety and environmental management systems in
deepwater operations, drawing on the collective knowledge and
experience of the industry and promoting use of the best safety
The center is evidence of the industrys
long-term commitment to safety and continuous improvement in
operations, he added. It will operate out of Houston.
"The government needs to issue leases, and approve
projects without unreasonable
delay," Milito said.
"If permitting moves forward at a reasonable pace
for projects in the Gulf, then we can
put 190,000 more people to work, safely bring more of
Americas vitally needed energy to its consumers, and
deliver many billions of dollars in additional revenue to our