Washington: The US government will introduce a new regulation covering oil rigs’ blowout preventers The New York Times reported on Friday.
The rule, expected to be announced by the Department of the Interior on Monday according to the newspaper, will be aimed at improving the reliability of the large specialised valves which are meant to act as backup systems to prevent oil and gas well explosions. Failure of a blowout preventer was partially blamed for the Deepwater Horizon disaster of 2010.
In that incident an explosion at BP’s Macondo well killed 11 people on the rig and caused an oil spill that flowed for nearly three months, wreaking widespread environmental damage around the US Gulf of Mexico.
Department of the Interior officials have also said the new rule will set out requirements for oil companies to monitor and control wells, including the ability to monitor operations on deep water wells in real time from on land.
New blowout preventer standards would be the third major regulation this administration has published in response to the BP spill. The disaster also prompted an overhaul of Interior’s regulatory structure for offshore drilling, including separating the agency charged with overseeing safety from the one charged with overseeing the collection of revenue.