New rules proposed as 5-year anniversary of oil spill nears
The Obama administration is proposing regulations aimed at ensuring offshore wells are sealed in an emergency, as the fifth anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill nears.
Federal safety investigators blamed a faulty blowout preventer for the spill and called for stronger regulations to prevent oil and gas from rushing to the surface and triggering a spill.
A blowout preventer contains equipment called a sheer ram that cuts through the drill pipe and allows for sealing the well. But during the Deepwater Horizon spill, the equipment failed to make a clean cut.
The 264-page rule was long expected. It would require wells to have two sheer rams to better ensure a seal. The redundancy is already an industry standard.
The rule also requires an independent annual review of maintenance records.