Salazar picks Ocean Energy Safety Advisory Committee lineup

By nicksinwashdc
US Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced the members of the Ocean Energy Safety Advisory Committee, including four representatives from the oil and gas industry, on Mar. 11. The committee will be a permanent advisory body providing critical guidance on improving offshore drilling safety, well containment, and spill response offshore. Salazar created it on Jan. 19 and sought nominations soon after.

The oil and gas industry representatives are Charlie Williams, chief scientist for well engineering and production technology at Shell Oil Co.; Paul Siegele, president of Chevron Energy Technology Co.; Joseph Gebara, senior manager and structural engineer at Technip USA Inc.; and Don Jacobsen, senior vice president for operations at Noble Drilling Services Inc.

Members representing academia are Nancy Leveson, a system safety and process safety professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Richard Sears, a senior science and engineering advisor who was chief scientist at the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling; and Tad Patzek, a professor and chairman of the University of Texas at Austin’s Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering Department.

The group also includes a single member from an environmental organization: Lois Epstein, the Arctic Program director at the Wilderness Society.

Members from the federal government include two experienced, high-level officials: Walter D. Cruickshank, deputy director of the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (who held a similar post when it was the US Minerals Management Service), and Christopher A. Smith, the deputy assistant US energy secretary for oil and gas who leads the Department of Energy’s fossil energy office.

Others may not be as well known, but seem very well qualified: Capt. Patrick Little, commanding officer at the US Coast Guard’s Marine Safety Center; Mathy Stanislaus, the US Environmental Protection Agency’s assistant administrator for solid waste and emergency response; David Westerholm, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s response and restoration office; and Steve Hickman, a geologist at the US Geological Survey.

Perhaps it’s because I’ve just finished reading the latest daily reports from the Washington Nationals’ spring training, but I can’t resist saying that Salazar put some very heavy hitters in this team’s lineup. It will be interesting to see what happens as they take the field and begin to work out.
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