Interior official says industry is making progress in preparation for oil well blowouts

Last Friday Bromwich sent letters to the consortium and the Helix Energy Solutions Group — another company developing containment systems — seeking details on their efforts.

“The most critical missing piece in the process of approving applications for permits to drill in deep water is the demonstration of well control and subsea containment capability,” Bromwich wrote in the letters to the companies Friday.

On Wednesday Bromwich said the meeting provided some of the answers he’s seeking.

“I think we are getting closer. I think we needed to put the questions to the highest levels of those companies so we could get good and coherent responses. We got many of those yesterday, and we will have continuing discussions with them over the next several weeks,” he said Wednesday.

Bromwich last month said he expects permitting for deepwater projects to resume before mid-year. Asked Wednesday if that timeline remains effective, he replied, “Yes. I think it is.”