Document Type

Symposium Article


Oil and gas production in the Gulf of Mexico is an important aspect of our domestic energy strategy, and to successfully obtain oil from deep beneath the ocean floor. in thousands of feet of water, an impressive array of technology is utilized by the oil and gas industry. One of the many lessons learned, however, from the Deepwater Horizon disaster is that this technology can present significant risks to human life and the environment if it fails. This Article presents an overview of the technology used to conduct deepwater oil and gas drilling operations, and then examines how the failure to adequately regulate this risky technology played a major role in the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe. This Article also summarizes the actions taken by regulators in response, and questions whether the actions taken are sufficient to prevent another deepwater disaster. The Article concludes by suggesting a number of other actions for consideration by policymakers to reduce the risks associated with producing oil from tens of thousands of feet beneath the ocean’s floor.