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Baker Institute conference to examine safety, effectiveness of US offshore drilling industry

The explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico last April led to the largest oil spill in U.S. history and threatened Gulf ecosystems, the local Gulf Coast economy and the future of U.S. offshore drilling. A Feb. 11 conference at Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy will examine the policy implications of the disaster in light of new scientific and technical information. The conference will feature academic scholars from Rice University, as well as other southwest universities, including the University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M, Tulane University and Louisiana State University.

"U.S. Offshore Oil Exploration: Managing Risks to Move Forward" will begin at 9 a.m. in Baker Hall's Dor Commons on the Rice University campus, 6100 Main St. For directions, go to

The conference will bring together students, scientists and industry leaders, as well as national and Gulf Coast policymakers and political leaders, to discuss the path forward toward ensuring a safe and effective U.S. offshore drilling industry.

J. Robinson West, founder and CEO of PFC Energy, will deliver the opening keynote address, "U.S. Offshore Drilling: What is at Stake?" The morning panels will discuss the ecological impact of offshore drilling and ways policy decisions can make offshore drilling safer.

Michael R. Bromwich, director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, will give the luncheon keynote. Afternoon panels will consider engineering challenges facing deepwater drilling and how to foster an improved "safety culture" in the offshore drilling industry.

Amy Myers Jaffe, the Wallace S. Wilson Fellow in Energy Studies at the Baker Institute, will offer closing remarks titled "Offshore Drilling and U.S. Energy Security."


Contact: David Ruth
Rice University

Page: 1

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