Offshore drilling safety rules are being finalized

08 16, 2012 by The Times-Picayune

Government regulators are finalizing safety rules for offshore drilling put in place after the BP oil spill. The Interior Department put emergency regulations in place after the drilling rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico that killed 11 people in 2010. Those regulations have been fine-tuned to clarify whether certain safety measures are suggested or mandatory.

The safety measures are intended to make sure oil flow can be stopped if there are problems. They deal with the design of wells and the testing of cement and barriers used to secure them.

The rules also call for independent testing of blowout preventers, which failed in the 2010 disaster.

The Interior Department says the rules will cost the industry about $131 million. That's about $53 million less than the emergency rules.