Industry: How to tackle future spills

Two oil industry task forces that have been studying the best ways to tackle oil spills and maintain control of underwater wells today delivered  mid-term recommendations to federal regulators.

The draft reports were a top topic during an offshore drilling forum in downtown Houston convened by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement.

Erik Milito, the upstream director for the American Petroleum Institute, said the recommendations are part of a “comprehensive review of offshore safety” that was launched after the Deepwater Horizon explosion. Today’s reports follow up on recommendations for operating procedures and equipment that two other industry task forces delivered to the Interior Department in May.

The Subsea Well Control and Containment Task Force made 29 recommendations — including 15 steps that can be taken immediately. The group gave a thumbs up to industry plans to collaborate on a containment system that can be swiftly deployed in case of future offshore well blowouts.

The Oil Spill Preparedness and Response Task Force stressed the importance of tackling future spills as close to the source — and as far offshore — as possible, by controlling the flowing crude and applying dispersants near the gusher. The panel noted that while oil spill response plans developed by industry are standardized by design, there are “areas for improvement,” including better training for large spills. The group also recommended better techniques for tracking oil.

Copies of the most recent two reports — and the recommendations delivered in May — are available after the jump.

Sub Sea Well Control 3 SEP 2010 V2

Oil Spill Response 3 SEP 2010 V2

DRAFT JITF Recommendations