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Energy industry experts call for increased offshore drilling safety measures during conference

University of Houston Law Center Research Assistant Professor Julian Cardenas Garcia delivers opening remarks at the Second Inter-American Hydrocarbons Regulators Dialogue on the University of Houston campus.

May 17, 2018 – Government officials, energy in-house attorneys, oil and gas professionals, academics and students shared concerns and possible solutions to deal with policy and technological challenges facing the oil and gas industry at the Second Inter-American Hydrocarbons Regulators Dialogue recently at the Hilton University of Houston.

The event was presented by the University of Houston Law Center's Environment, Energy & Natural Resources Center and the Subsea Systems Institute.

"The event was a unique opportunity to create a nexus between oil and gas regulators, academia, and the private sector," said Law Center Research Assistant Professor Julian Cardenas Garcia. "The increasing number of offshore oil and gas operations and the development of new technology has created new challenges for regulations and this conference promote an initiative to discuss the best industry practices for regulation."

The opening panel centered on the security of offshore technology and data and automation in offshore oil and gas operations. Speakers included Indira Rampaul-Cheddie, Senior State Counsel for Trinidad and Tobago's Ministry of Energy, Ramanan Krishnamoorti, Energy Chief Officer at the University of Houston, Ricardo Colmenter, Law Center adjunct professor and director of Entra Consulting and Pablo Perez, president and CEO of Bardasz, Oilfield Technology Solutions Provider.

The following panel discussed how regulators manage the evolution of offshore technology. The panelists were Douglas Morris, chief of the Office of Offshore Regulatory Program for the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, and, Magda Chambriard, an Energy Visiting Scholar at the Law Center, and former president of the Brazilian National Petroleum Agency.   

Tim Duncan, the CEO of Talos Energy LLC spoke about his company's involvement with the Zama-1, the first offshore exploration well drilled by the private sector in Mexico's history.

Following Duncan was a presentation of the Second Edition of the book "International Petroleum Transactions in Latin America," edited by Colmenter and David Enriquez of the Instituto Tecnólogico Autónomo de México. The book includes nine legal articles written by 14 different authors from the Americas, in a joint effort between the EENR Center and the Instituto Tecnólogico Autónomo de México.

The third panel was titled, "Human Factor and Hardware in Offshore Platforms." Speakers included Tiago Jacques, a regulation specialist with the Brazilian Petroleum Agency, Professor Camille Peres, an assistant professor of public health at Texas A&M University, Mark Denowski, the vice president of accreditation operations for the International Association of Drilling Contractors.

The final panel examined the enforcement of energy practices and the regulator's role. The panel was led by Alfredo Orellana, chief legal counsel of the Mexican National Agency for Industrial Safety and Environmental Protection of the Hydrocarbons Sector, and joined by Professor Julian Cardenas, Professor Alicia Elias-Roberts, a Professor at the University of West Indies' campus in Trinidad and Tobago. The panel was moderated by Professor Emeritus Jacqueline Weaver.

Additional sponsors for the event were the Argentina-Texas Chamber of Commerce, the Brazil-Texas Chamber of Commerce and the Colombia-Texas Chamber of Commerce.

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