Interior May Expand Safety Requirements To Contractors

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The U.S. Interior Department is mulling the possibility of extending its newly bolstered offshore drilling safety requirements that currently apply to exploration and production firms to contractors due to concerns that the scope of the safety measures may be limited.

An expansion of those guidelines to contractors would allow Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, the agency charged with overseeing offshore drilling activities in U.S. waters, to more closely regulate firms such as Transocean and Halliburton.

Transocean (RIG), the world's largest provider of offshore drilling services, and Halliburton (HAL), the world's second-largest provider of oilfield services, are among the contractors that were involved in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill last year. Transocean owned the Deepwater Horizon rig and Halliburton provided cement services for the Macondo well.

Michael Bromwich, director of BOEMRE, said congressional action may be needed to extend the guidelines to contractors because they do not currently go beyond regulating E&P firms.

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