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Press Release



BOEMRE Calls for Nominations for Offshore Energy Safety Advisory Committee


Expert body to provide input on improving offshore drilling safety, well containment, and spill response


01/24/2011

Contact: Kendra Barkoff, DOI (202) 208-6416

Nick Pardi (202) 208-3985

[Edited Feb 22, 2011, changing "Safety Committee" to "OSEC in the first paragraph.]
[Edited Feb 3, 2011, changing "13-member committee" to "15-member committee" in 2nd paragraph]

WASHINGTON, DC – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) Director Michael R. Bromwich today announced that the agency is accepting nominations from federal agencies, industry, academia, national labs, and various research organizations for representatives to serve on the recently established Offshore Energy Safety Advisory Committee (OESC). The creation of the OESC was announced on January 19, 2011.

The 15-member committee will advise the BOEMRE Director and the Secretary of the Interior on a variety of issues related to offshore energy safety, including drilling and workplace safety, well intervention and containment and oil spill response. The Safety Committee is the first step toward establishing the proposed Ocean Energy Safety Institute, which would facilitate collaborative research and development, training and execution in these and other areas relating to offshore energy safety going forward. The Safety Committee will provide advice on how best to stand up the Institute, and on what role the Safety Committee should play in the Institute.

“The Offshore Energy Safety Advisory Committee will help us ensure that exploration and development on the Outer Continental Shelf is done safely and responsibly, and that our rules and regulations stay a step ahead of changing technologies and challenges,” said Secretary Salazar. “We are looking for the best minds from industry, academia and the scientific community to create a ‘center of excellence’ that would help us address technological challenges and inherent risks associated with offshore drilling.” 

“We are seeking our nation’s top experts to serve on the Offshore Energy Safety Advisory Committee,” said BOEMRE Director Bromwich. “This group will serve as a the channel through which America’s leading scientific, engineering and technical experts will be able to provide continuing contributions on strengthening safety in offshore energy exploration and development on the Outer Continental Shelf. They will help chart a research agenda and focus on the technical and regulatory challenges that lie ahead and how best to address them.” 

Former Sandia National Laboratory Director Dr. Tom Hunter has been asked to chair the Committee, which will be comprised of representatives from industry, government, national laboratories, academia and NGOs. The Safety Committee will have two primary functions:

  • Identifying, prioritizing and defining research and development projects in the areas of drilling and workplace safety, containment, and oil spill response and allocating available resources to these projects as appropriate and;
  • Providing a venue for representatives from industry, government, non-governmental organizations, national laboratories, and the academic community to exchange information and ideas, share best practices, and develop cross-organizational expertise.

The call for nominations is available for public inspection today through the Federal Register’s website.  

For a fact sheet on the Safety Committee, click here.

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