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Ministerial Forum Seeks Global Solutions to Deepwater Drilling Safety, Containing Blowouts

Collaborative research and development urged for technology advances WASHINGTON - Nations developing offshore oil and gas resources share a responsibility to strengthen their ability to contain deepwater well blowouts and should work collaboratively on research and development initiatives to reduce the risks of oil spills and promote the next generation of containment technologies.

That was the guiding principle of the Ministerial Forum on Offshore Drilling Containment at the Interior Department today, where ministers and senior government officials from more than a dozen nations met with experts from industry and academia to share the lessons learned from the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill and promote collaborative solutions for deepwater oil spill containment.

"As global neighbors, we have a shared responsibility to improve the safety of offshore energy development around the world," Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said. "Today's dialogue has laid a strong foundation for international cooperation in the name of safety, and I look forward to continuing to work with these countries to develop advanced containment technologies."

"This historic gathering provided an important opportunity to explore international cooperation on safe and environmentally responsible development of offshore energy resources," said Interior Deputy Secretary David J. Hayes. "As Interior works to set the gold standard for our deepwater development, we look forward to collaborating with offshore oil producing nations on the development of cutting-edge projects and common standards."

"It is important that we work together with our international colleagues to learn from each other and develop global containment capabilities," said Michael R. Bromwich, Director of Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement. "Today was an important first step in this effort, and I hope that we continue this conversation in the future."   

Ministers and senior officials from 12 countries and the European Union, as well as representatives from industry, academia, and non-governmental organizations, participated in the day-long Ministerial Forum at Interior headquarters. Nations represented were Angola, Australia, Brazil, Canada, India, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, the United Kingdom, Russia, as well as the European Union.

The forum's morning session, entitled Lessons Learned: The Need for Better Well Containment Capabilities Worldwide, was moderated by BOEMRE Director Bromwich. An interactive discussion followed with William Reilly, Co-Chair, National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling; Don Winter, Chair, Analysis of the Causes of the Deepwater Horizon Explosion, Fire and Oil Spill Committee; and Martin Hoffman, Australia Deputy Secretary of the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism.

The afternoon session, Promoting Next Generation Well Containment Technologies, was moderated by David J. Hayes, Deputy Secretary of the Interior and was followed by an interactive discussion with James Dupree, BP Regional President, Gulf of Mexico; Owen Kratz, President and Chief Executive Officer of Helix Energy Solutions; Malcolm Webb, Chief Executive Officer of Oil & Gas UK; and Thomas Hunter, Chair, Ocean Energy Safety Advisory Committee.

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