API Urges Offshore Drillers To Use Automatic Shutoff Valves

Credit: Pat Semansky/AP.
In this 4 September 2010 picture, the Helix Q4000, the vessel responsible for lifting the Deepwater Horizon blowout preventer stack from the sea floor, is seen in the Gulf of Mexico near the coast of Louisiana.

Offshore oil and gas drillers need to better protect against spills during disruptions such as hurricanes and power outages, the American Petroleum Institute recommended on 8 November.

Under a new standard put out by the trade group, companies are advised to use wellhead valves that automatically shut off in the event of a loss of power or other emergency situation.

"The safety of our operations is of paramount importance to our industry. Ensuring the immediate closure of valves connecting underwater production systems to surface facilities will help keep workers safe and adds an additional layer of environmental protection where they operate," Debra Phillips, vice president of API Global Industry Services, said in a statement.

The Trump administration has been steadily rolling back federal regulations governing offshore drilling put in place following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon accident in the Gulf of Mexico.

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