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Oil Industry Blasts Latest Rules For Arctic Drilling

Screen Shot 2013-11-01 at 09.31.18This article was written by , the leading provider of energy news in the world.

Oil Industry Blasts Latest Rules For Arctic Drilling

The energy industry has been quick to criticize the Obama Administration’s proposed regulations for exploratory drilling in the US Arctic Ocean, calling them “unnecessarily burdensome.”

The Interior Department proposed Feb. 20 its first regulations ever for the US regions of the Arctic Ocean that would require energy companies to have contingency plans and spare equipment to contain any spills in the region. They would apply to the Beaufort Sea off the northern coast of Alaska and the Chukchi Sea over the Bearing Strait between Alaska and Russia.

An Interior Department report said in 2011 that an estimated 22 billion barrels of oil and 93 trillion cubic feet of gas – both technically recoverable – lie beneath these two seas owned by the federal government.

Under the new proposals, companies exploring for oil and gas in the region would have to prepare plans for responding to spills and have “prompt access” to equipment capable of controlling and containing the leak. They also must have a separate drilling rig on hand in case they lose control of the spill altogether.

The plan was criticized immediately by Eric Milito, director of upstream operations at the American Petroleum Institute, the leading trade association for the US oil industry.

“Other equipment and methods, such as a capping stack, can be used to achieve the same season relief with equal or higher levels of safety and environmental protection,” Milito told Platt’s . “For this reason, it is unnecessarily burdensome to effectively require two rigs to drill a single well.”

Nevertheless, one specific company, Royal Dutch Shell , has already committed to proposed regulations  and will adhere to them in large part during its exploratory drilling this summer in both the Beaufort and Chukchi seas even before they go into effect. That includes having a backup drilling rig available in the event of a spill.

The reason for Shell’s early compliance are an agreement between the Anglo-Dutch energy company and the US Department of Energy (DOE) because of Shell’s shaky performance in Arctic drilling during the summer of 2012, in which its exploratory drilling was undone by mechanical failures exacerbated by harsh weather.

Because Arctic drilling generally is conducted only from July to October, the regulations would require operators to submit plans for quick response to any accident. “If there were to be an uncontrolled well event, we want to make sure that the well can be secured within the drilling season,” said Brian Salerno , director of Interior’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.

These regulations already apply to drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, “where generally mild weather conditions and an established industry presence have created extensive infrastructure and logistical support that allow for nearly year-round operations,” said Abigail Ross Hopper , the director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

The proposed regulations for exploratory wells still must await a 60-day public comment period, and there was no word when they would become final. Meanwhile, Salerno said  the Interior Department will propose in the next few years new regulations for production as well as exploration.

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The article Oil Industry Blasts Latest Rules For Arctic Drilling originally appeared on

By Andy Tully of Oilprice has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned.

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The role of the API (American Petroleum Institute) as a lobby group is often overlooked.

After the Macondo blowout, the conflicted roles of the API were described in very unflattering terms in the report of the investigating commission.

This is outlined in:

Spill Commission: American Petroleum Institute Is ‘Compromised’ (API)

Given the prominence of the API’s views on the site today, a link to this article and others describing the various subsidiary lobby groups spawned by the API might be appropriate.

American Petroleum Institute Kept Tabs on Enviros: 11 Feb 2014

World’s biggest PR firm calls it quits with American oil lobby – reports

How the American Petroleum Institute Spies on Environmentalists

The New York Times, Mouthpiece for The American Petroleum Institute


API spent more than $3 million annually each year during the period 2005 to 2009 on lobbying; $3.6 million in 2009. As of 2009, according to API’s quarterly “Lobbying Report” submitted to the US Senate, the organization had 16 lobbyists lobbying various Congressional activities.

API conducts lobbying and organizes its member employees’ attendance at public events to communicate the industry’s position on various issues. A leaked summer 2009 memo from API President Jack Gerard asked its member companies to urge their employees to participate in planned protests (designed to appear independently organized) against the cap-and-trade legislation the House passed that same summer.

Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 08.49.55 and its sister non-profit websites,,,,,, and are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia feature.

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