Running the Numbers on Offshore Drilling Inspectors
Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 3:36 pm
Here’s one interesting tidbit from today’s conference call on the deepwater drilling moratorium. Even though the administration has decided to lift the moratorium, the Interior Department has not yet hired new inspectors to look at rigs in the Gulf.
Michael Bromwich, head of the newly formed Bureau of Energy Management, said on the call that the department has put out job notices looking for inspectors. “We don’t have a large number of additional inspectors in place,” he said. “No, we don’t. We wish we did.”
Still, Bromwich said BOEM would be able to conduct inspections “promptly” after receiving applications from companies.
According to BOEM, there are currently a total of 56 inspectors in the Gulf. In addition, there are about 60 people reviewing Gulf drilling applications and environmental assessments. That includes 20 additional staff members that have been asked to refocus their efforts on the applications in order to process them quickly.
Congress passed a continuing resolution late last month that provides $23 million to hire additional inspectors for Gulf oil rigs. Asked why Interior has yet to hire any additional inspectors with the money, the department responded in a statement:
Congress just passed that bill within the last couple of weeks. It wasn’t as much as we asked for. We asked for $100 million for new inspectors as well as other things. And it takes a while to hire people.
For more on the moratorium announcement, read my story.
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