OTC: Panel provides views on oil spill prevention

Leena Koottungal
OGJ Survey Editor/News Writer

HOUSTON, May 4 -- Restoring public trust and setting new standards are vital to moving forward in the oil and gas industry, according to David Payne, Chevron Corp.’s vice-president, drilling and completions.

Speaking at a panel discussion May 3 at the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston, Payne noted, “The industry today is much safer than it was Apr. 20,” referring to the date last year when BP PLC’s deepwater Macondo well blew out, setting fire to the Deepwater Horizon semi, and spilling millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

Payne discussed three elements that are important in prevention: human interface data, training, and procedures. He stressed that having a checklist is important to improve decision-making processes in an emergency.

The panel provided different perspectives on prevention and effects of the spill. Hanadi Rifai, director of environmental engineering, University of Houston, provided an academic perspective by discussing the effects on natural resources. Rifai stressed that prevention was key and attenuation and recovery are not guaranteed.

Martin Massey, chief executive officer, Marine Well Containment Co., focused his comments around preparation. "We need to continuously be ready to respond to a well control incident in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico.”

Christopher Smith, deputy assistant secretary for oil and natural gas with the US Department of Energy remembered the 11 lives lost by taking a moment to display their names.

Contact Leena Koottungal at leenak@ogjonline.com.

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