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GAO lists possible improvements in DOI's offshore energy oversight

The US Department of the Interior has aggressively implemented offshore regulatory policy changes since 2010, but continues to face challenges that might affect its Gulf of Mexico oil and gas operations oversight, the Government Accountability office said in a recent report.

“Specifically, [DOI]’s capacity to identify and evaluate risk remains limited, raising questions about the effectiveness with which it allocates its oversight resources,” the Aug. 29 report said. It added that the department also continues to have problems implementing effective information technology systems, such as those that aid exploration and development plan reviews, and faces significant workforce planning challenges.

The report recommended that DOI and its two agencies responsible for offshore federal resource oversight—the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement—make offshore oil and gas inspections more effective by entering violation and correction data into its system more promptly.

It also called for improvements in the department’s offshore IT and workforce planning efforts.

DOI officials commenting on a draft of the report generally agreed with its findings and the recommendations, GAO said.

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