The industry is taking too long to correct problems with catastrophic consequences, according to an op-ed piece in the Houston Chronicle.
For a decade, the industry has known that the four-foot long bolts used to hold a well together at the bottom of the ocean are breaking unexpectedly, according to the article. These broken bolts have caused only minor spills so far, but could potentially cause another catastrophe like the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster.
Engineers still haven't figured how to fix this problem, which could effect every deep-water well in the world, according to the report.
Brian Salerno, director of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement at the Department of the Interior, has urged the industry to determine why the bolts are breaking, how to prevent them from breaking in the future and come up with a schedule for replacing old ones.
Last month Salerno wrote a letter to the American Petroleum Institute suggesting the problem is industry slow-peddling.
"I am concerned the industry is not moving quickly enough given the potential for catastrophic failure," he wrote.
API, which sets design standards for undersea oil and gas equipment, says it’s working toward a solution, as are bolt manufacturers.
Source: Houston Chronicle