The New York Times reports the Obama administration is planning to impose a major new regulation on offshore oil and gas drilling to try to prevent the kind of explosions that caused the catastrophic BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, administration officials said Friday.
The announcement of the Interior Department regulation, which could be made as soon as Monday, is timed to coincide with the five-year anniversary of the disaster, which killed 11 men and sent millions of barrels of oil spewing into the gulf, the Times reported. The regulation is being introduced as the Obama administration is taking steps to open up vast new areas of federal waters off the southeast Atlantic Coast to drilling, a decision that has infuriated environmentalists.
The rule is expected to tighten safety requirements on blowout preventers, the industry-standard devices that are the last line of protection to stop explosions in undersea oil and gas wells. The explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig on April 20, 2010, was caused in part when the buckling of a section of drill pipe led to the malfunction of a supposedly fail-safe blowout preventer on a BP well called Macondo.