I attended the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) forum on Tuesday morning in Houston where Michael Bromwich, BOEMRE director, and two of his colleagues from the Department of the Interior (DOI) listened to presentations by three panels, made up of industry, academia, environmental groups, and government officials. The Houston meeting was one of seven being held as fact-finding forums that, according to a press release issued by the DOI, were “designed to collect information and views about deepwater drilling safety reforms, well containment, and oil spill response.” Additional meetings were scheduled to take place in Alabama, Alaska, California, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi. The information presented at the meetings will be evaluated by Director Bromwich, who has been tasked with preparing a report to be submitted by Secretary of the Interior Kenneth Salazar by October 31 that either will recommend modifications to the scope or duration of the deepwater drilling moratorium that has been in effect since July 12, 2010, or will uphold the DOI’s decision to sustain the moratorium through November. Of the three panels that made up the Houston forum, the most critical in terms of representation of the industry was the first, which was led by Guy Luquette, president of Chevron North America E&P and API Upstream Committee Chairman. Luquette introduced himself and explained his role as well as those of the Task Force chairmen and co-chairs who rounded out the panel. Then, he outlined the goals of the task forces the API has organized to address offshore safety issues. The task forces, formed in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon blowout, have two goals: (1) to identify risks and eliminate them and (2) to improve environmental performance. The ultimate goal, Luquette said, is "to restore public confidence” in the oil and gas industry and in the regulatory industry. Additional panel members included John Peters of Chevron, who is chairman of the Offshore Operating Procedures Task Force, Alan Summers of Diamond Offshore Drilling, who chairs the Offshore Equipment Task Force, Charlie Williams of Shell, chairman of the Subsea Well Control and Containment Task Force, and Jay Collins of Oceaneering and Keith Robson of Marathon Oil, who co-chair the Oil Spill Response Task Force. These task forces, Luquette explained, are targeting three areas of improvement: prevention, intervention, and emergency response. Each of the Task Force leaders outlined the goals and objectives of his group, explained the extent to which progress has been made to date, and presented plans for continued improvement. That objective will be met cooperatively, according to Keith Robson. “We need to collaborate and coordinate better,” he said. “That is absolutely the way to go.” Although the task forces have not yet achieved all of their goals, Luquette believes there has been substantial progress. “We are much more ready to get back to work,” he said, “and we are committed to making further progress.”