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Regulators Forum to discuss oil well blowouts at EGM

19 August 2010

An extraordinary meeting of the International Regulators Forum (IRF) is being held at the initiative of the Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA) Norway to address the recent blowouts off Australia and in the Gulf of Mexico.

Australia’s Montara field
Australia’s Montara field

Due to take place in Washington DC on 8-9 September, it will be the first extraordinary meeting of the eight-member IRF in its 17-year history.

“We proposed this session because we feel it’s now important to discuss how the serious incidents we’ve seen in the petroleum sector over the past year are followed up by regulators in other parts of the world,” said PSA director-general Magne Ognedal. “It’s also important to acquire an overview of the measures and projects which are under way in each of the member countries.”

The oil blowouts on Australia’s Montara field in August last year and the Macondo field in the Gulf of Mexico this April will also be considered and discussed at the big international safety conference being staged by the IRF in Vancouver, Canada, this October. The Washington meeting accordingly provides an important opportunity to prepare for this event.

The response to the PSA’s call for a meeting has been uniformly positive. All the member countries have announced their intention to attend, and will be represented by their top management and specialists on well safety.

Washington has been chosen as the venue for practical reasons, since this is where the US safety regulator has its offices and a number of the commissions of inquiry are based. “Now that the well appears to be under control, the time is ripe to learn more about the incident and how other regulators have responded,” added Ognedal.

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