NASA brought in to advise on reducing offshore drilling risk

The commonalities between roughnecks and astronauts sounds like the beginning of a bad joke.

But the government’s offshore drilling inspector, the Bureau of of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, announced Thursday that NASA has agreed to advise them on reducing the risk of accidents.

“Both BSEE and NASA work in harsh and uncompromising environments, relying on cutting edge technology to go deeper and further than previously thought possible,” BSEE Director Brian Salerno explained in a statement.

Last week the offshore drilling bureau was taken to task for not doing enough to improve safety on drilling rigs following 2010’s Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Government Accountability Office said it still followed many of the same protocols on investigating incidents as it did in 2010.

In NASA, the bureau has found itself a partner with a long history studying risk and reward.

The aerospace agency, which trains astronauts and runs missions from the Johnson Space Center in Houston, employs a quantitative risk modelling technique that it uses on the likes of the Orion deep space program.

“Whether the task takes one to deep space, or into the deep ocean, the analysis of the environment, training of personnel and risk mitigation factors are similar,” Jack James, technology transfer strategist at the Johnson Space Center, said in a statement.

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