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Florida tourism would not exist without oil and natural gas

Written by
David Mica
 Special to

As the one-year anniversary of the Macondo oil spill approaches, we are seeing a reemergence of the decades-old debate on whether oil and natural gas exploration and production should take place off Florida coasts.

What is lost in the debate is the fact that Florida remains the country’s third-largest consumer of energy and that, even as the use of alternative forms increase, the state will continue to need more and more oil and natural gas, without which tourism – the state’s number one industry – and other industries would not exist.

Also lost is the strong safety record of the oil and natural gas industry – and its unprecedented response to the April 20 accident. Before the spill, more than 42,000 offshore wells were drilled safely in the Gulf of Mexico over a span of 60 years.

Following the accident, the industry launched an unprecedented response to the accident, raising the bar even higher on safety standards. Within hours after the accident, the industry began working to try to determine what went wrong and to develop strategies for the future. This led to the release of even more stringent standards, the creation of an enhanced spill response company, and the establishment of a new safety institute to continually evaluate new technology and procedures to recommend best management practices to the industry.

Industrywide task forces were created to identify and learn from any gaps in operations or practices. The government has incorporated a number of recommendations from these task forces into new safety rules and these recommendations have already helped to further enhance the industry’s preparedness.

In July, four of our companies contributed $1 billion to create the Marine Well Containment Company to develop and implement state-of-the-art containment systems to respond rapidly to any spill in the future. Those systems are now in place.

The industry did not stop there. Last month, the American Petroleum Institute announced the creation of the Center for Offshore Safety to build on the existing strong standards and to promote the highest level of safety for offshore operations, through an effective program that addresses management practices, communication and teamwork.

— David Mica is executive director of the Florida Petroleum Council.

( Original Article )

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