Oil industry called to draw inspiration from aviation industry to boost safety

12:56, September 23, 2010      

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U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu on Wednesday called on the oil industry to draw inspiration from the airline industry to boost the safety of offshore oil drilling.

BP's nearly-five-month-long oil spill saga in the Gulf of Mexico has drawn public attention to the safety of offshore drilling and prompted the Obama administration to impose a temporary offshore drilling ban.

Airplanes already use basic warning systems and monitoring equipment that is lacking on even the most advanced deepwater drilling rigs, Chu said at a federal forum on oil spill response.

After triggering landing gear, pilots get notifications that the wheels have deployed, but there is no similar guidance when rams close on blowout preventers on oil wells, according to Chu.

Some cockpit panels are designed to serve as "technical aids during critical times," and oil industry could use the same technology in the case of wells, when cement barriers are tested, Chu said.

Chu called on the government and the oil industry to work together in deciding what technologies and regulations are needed to improve safety of offshore drilling.

Source: Xinhua


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