RIO DE JANEIRO – As part of a commitment to reduce the risks associated with offshore drilling around the world, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today announced he is convening ministers and senior government officials from nations engaged in offshore oil and gas extraction to discuss the development of cutting-edge technologies for containing potential deepwater well blowouts on the outer continental shelves.
Salazar, who is meeting this week with Brazilian and Mexican officials to discuss cooperative efforts on safety in offshore energy development, said the Ministerial Forum on Offshore Drilling Containment will be held in Washington, D.C., on April 14 at the Interior Department. More information about the forum, including a draft agenda, is available at http://www.doi.gov/whatwedo/energy/MFODC2011/index.cfm.
“Just as we share oceans with our neighbors, we have an interest in sharing best practices for how all of us can develop our resources safely and responsibly,” said Secretary Salazar. “Those of us engaged in offshore energy exploration and production have a collective responsibility to strengthen our capabilities for containing potential deepwater blowouts and promoting international collaboration, research and development going forward.”
Ministers and senior officials from 13 countries and the European Union, along with representatives from industry, academia, and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), have been invited to attend the Ministerial Forum. Confirmed participants include ministers and senior officials from Brazil, Mexico, Australia, the United Kingdom, Norway, Russia, Canada, India, Israel, Netherlands, Angola and the European Union. Two panels of experts from industry and academia will make presentations on the lessons learned from recent blowouts and offer suggestions for promoting cutting-edge containment capabilities in the future.
The Secretary met with Brazilian officials, including the Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota and the Minister of Mines and Energy Edison Lobão, to discuss safe development of offshore oil and gas resources. Today, the Secretary joined U.S. Ambassador to Brazil Thomas Shannon in Rio de Janeiro for meetings with Director General of the Brazilian National Petroleum Agency Haroldo Lima and leaders in the oil and gas industry to have a dialogue on best practices and safe development of offshore oil and gas resources.
During his visit, Secretary Salazar delivered a speech entitled, “Toward a Safe, Secure Energy Future” at the Institute of the Americas Energy Forum. Secretary Salazar will also meet with representatives from the conservation community in Brazil to discuss opportunities to strengthen the partnership on preserving and protecting that nation's natural resources.
On Monday, April 4, 2011, Secretary Salazar and Deputy Secretary David J. Hayes will be in Mexico City to continue their discussion regarding the safe and responsible development of oil and gas resources in the Gulf of Mexico with Mexican government officials and leaders from the oil and gas industry. Secretary Salazar and Deputy Secretary Hayes will be joined by former Senator Bob Graham and William Reilly, both of whom served as Co-Chairs for the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling.