Oil self-regulates around globe

By KARL RITTER and IAN MacDOUGALL

The Associated Press
Thursday, May 20, 2010; 7:02 AM

Across the globe, industry-driven regulation is the norm, not the exception – and critics are calling for a re-examination of a system that puts crucial safety decisions into the hands of corporations motivated by profit.

An Associated Press investigation shows other nations harvesting oil and gas from offshore fields, including Britain, Norway, Australia and Canada, have moved in the same direction: Governments set the general safety standards that must be met, but leave it to rig operators to work out the details.

The shift away from more heavy-handed regulation started about two decades ago and was based on the notion that oil companies best know the risks of offshore operations – and how to minimize them.

But the Deepwater Horizon explosion on April 20 and another platform incident in the Timor Sea off Australia last year have raised concerns that Big Oil has been given too much leeway to police itself.

“Safety is a combination of regulation and compliance and both clearly need to be reviewed and tightened across industry everywhere in light of these respective blowouts,” said Gilly Llewellyn of the World Wildlife Fund.

To read more, visit: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/05/20/AR2010052000834.html

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