U.S. Offshore Drilling Agency To Conduct Surprise Inspections

Posted in BP British Petroleum,Government,Gulf Coast,Maritime Law,World Maritime News on October 15, 2010

WASHINGTON DC – As part of a new aggressive enforcement effort adopted by the Obama administration since the BP oil spill, the government will begin to conduct surprise inspections on oil rigs.

Michael Bromwich, director of Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement. PHOTO: Eliot Kamenitz / The Times-Picayune

The announcement was made on Thursday, October 14, 2010 by Michael Bromwich, the head of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), an agency under the Department of the Interior. The new agency was formerly known as the Minerals Management Service.

Recently, the government had stopped making unannounced rig inspections due to concerns over national security. But now Bromwich says that he sees no legitimate reason to let oil companies know about planned inspections as much as two days in advance.

According to a recent article by Reuters, Bromwich stated at the Global Climate and Alternative Energy Summit, “I think unannounced inspections should and must play a significant role in an integrated inspections policy.”

Bromwich said that the department would provide companies some notice about inspections but not a full day ahead of the inspection.

Bromwich was brought in this summer to reform a scandal-ridden bureau whose reputation was marred by the massive Gulf oil spill.

Bromwich said the unannounced inspections are part of the bureau’s tough new stance on enforcement and that he has authorized inspectors “to be as aggressive as they responsibly can be.”

The Reuters article also said that Bromwich formed an investigative team within the agency to “help spearhead the agency’s efforts to forcefully go after oil companies that violate the law.”

Source: Reuters – Read More

Published by maritime lawyer Gordon, Elias & Seely, LLP