Sunday, October 3, 2010

U.S. Issues New Rules on Offshore Drilling

The Interior Department tightened its rules on offshore oil and gas operations on Thursday but left in place the moratorium on deepwater drilling that has left oil executives frustrated and Gulf Coast officials fuming.

The new rules — governing well casing and cementing, blowout preventers, safety certification, emergency response and worker training — provide offshore drillers with clarity on the terms under which drilling will resume when the current freeze ends.

The rules take effect immediately under emergency rule-making powers.

The moratorium on deepwater drilling, imposed in late April, is scheduled to end on Nov. 30, but officials have signaled that it will probably be eased before then.

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