Top Interior officials huddle with offshore oil and gas industry after accidents

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The department, in a summary of the meeting, did not indentify which industry officials took part.

Jewell, according to the summary, noted that Interior had toughened offshore safety rules in the wake of the 2010 BP oil disaster, which occurred in deep waters.

“These recent incidents underscore the inherent risk in offshore operations and the need for everyone — from the chief executive officer to the roustabout — to make safety his or her number one priority,” she said in a statement.

Beaudreau “discussed the need for sharing lessons learned and best practices as a way to help refocus industry efforts to improve safety,” Interior said, while Watson told executives that shallow water operations present risks even though they’re less complex than deepwater drilling.

“While many consider shallow water operations to be less technically challenging in many cases than those occurring in deepwater, they are not without risk, and the industry must not become complacent,” he said in a statement.

The decision to hold the meeting follows last week's accident about 55 miles off the Louisiana coast at a Hercules Offshore Inc. rig that was working on a well owned by Walter Oil and Gas Corp.