U.S. oil industry touts offshore safety

05 02, 2013 by UPI

Energy companies working offshore need to ensure their work is conducted in a way that allays public concerns, a former Shell scientist said.

Charlie Williams, a former production scientist at Shell, was appointed last year as executive director of a safety organization formed in response to the Gulf of Mexico disaster in 2010.

As director of the Center for Offshore Safety, he said the industry was working on ways to make sure its operations were conducted safely in the deep waters off the southern U.S. coast.

"Oil and natural gas producers must always ensure that the ability to provide reliable and affordable energy -- produced from our country's vast domestic resources -- is always in sync with efforts to safeguard workers, the environment and the public," he said in a statement.

U.S. regulators this week tested a capping system designed to respond to stop the flow of oil and natural gas should an incident occur like the 2010 accident. Helix Well Containment Group and the Marine Well Containment Co. designed special capping systems meant to stop any deep-water leak.

Reforms enacted after the 2010 spill require well operators to show there are adequate response mechanisms in place should a well failure occur in deep water.

A conference on offshore safety is scheduled for next month in Houston.