CSB Hearing Today Gathers Top Offshore Experts

Some have experience in Britain's offshore sector, two with oilfields in Alaska, and others in Norway, Australia, and South America.

Today's public hearing by the U.S. Chemical Safety Board concerns management of offshore drilling throughout the world. CSB has created an impressive program featuring its own investigators and experts, representatives from two large international oil companies and industry associations, and four union officers with years of experience in the oilfields of America and Norway. The event begins at 9 a.m. EST and is part of CSB's investigation of the Deepwater Horizon explosion and spill earlier this year.

The hearing will be offered on the CSB website as a live webcast.

The speakers have been organized into three panels. They'll discuss safety oversight in gas and oil drilling operations after CSB Chair Rafael Moure-Eraso delivers opening remarks and lead investigator Don Holmstrom provides an overview of the investigation to this point. Holmstrom, who is director of CSB's Western Regional Office, has had leadership responsibility for investigations that include the BP Texas City refinery explosion of 2005 and a Valero refinery explosion in 2007 in Dumas, Texas.

The regulators panel is first up at 9:30 a.m. EST and may be the most enlightening. Its members are Ian Whewell, retired director of the British Health and Safety Executive's Offshore Division, who worked on offshore legislation developed after the Piper Alpha disaster in 1988; Magne Ognedal, director-general of the Norwegian Petroleum Safety Authority; and John Clegg, retired CEO of the Australian National Offshore Petroleum Authority, who helped establish HSE's Offshore Division during a 26-year career with that agency.

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