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This working paper deals with the U.S. approach for governing the safety of offshore oil and gas operations and preventing major accidents during exploratory drilling and production. It evaluates the statutory and regulatory framework, and agency implementation and reliance on industrial standards, and then suggests reforms to improve the efficacy of this governance system. References are made to the blowout at the drilling rig operated by British Petroleum to support the evaluation and reforms. References are also made to Norwegian laws and regulations governing oil and gas operations in the North Sea. As one of the world’s largest sources of offshore oil and natural gas, Norway has achieved a high level of safety and offers a proven alternative approach for consideration in the development of an improved U.S. approach.

Several additional sections are being developed to complete this working paper.

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