Industry lets globe down over oil spills, Australian minister says

17:14, May 17, 2010      

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The petroleum industry, governments and regulators have let the global community down after a series of environmental disasters in the past two years, Australian Resources Minister Martin Ferguson said on Monday.

Ferguson told the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration (APPEA) conference in Brisbane the incident, as well as emergencies at Varanus Island in June 2008 and Montara in the Timor Sea in August 2009, showed the industry had had "a very unfortunate two years".

"The Deepw-ater Horizon incident ... has served to deepen this crisis of confidence," Ferguson said.

"The community is entitled to expect governments, regulators and the industry to ensure that exploration and production activities are carried out safely and in a manner that protects the environment.

"Collectively, we have let the community down and we must act to ensure the mistakes of the past don't occur again."

According to Australian Associated Press, Ferguson said the Montara commission of inquiry will report in mid-June.

"It will provide recommendations for government, industry and regulators to help us lift the safety and environmental performance of the industry," Ferguson said.

"I intend to act appropriately and promptly on its recommendations.

"In my view, Australia has to learn the lessons of Montara and the Gulf of Mexico, and ensure firstly, that we have a world-class regulatory system in place and secondly, that we have competent and professional operators in the industry."

Ferguson said his preferred model was for a single national regulator.

"My preferred model is consistent with the industry's view that the safety of people, the integrity of facilities, the protection of the environment, and day to day operations must be regulated in an integrated way, with resource management issues regulated separately," Ferguson said.

BP was currently trying to stop a massive Gulf of Mexico oil leak, following the Deep-water Horizon explosion in which 11 men died.

BP is a British global energy company that is also the third largest global energy company and the 4th largest company in the world.

Source: Xinhua
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