by Agence France-Presse. WASHINGTON — U.S. authorities announced new safety rules Thursday for offshore oil and gas drilling, a move aimed at preventing a recurrence of the disastrous Deepwater Horizon accident earlier this year. The Interior Department said two new rules will toughen requirements for safety equipment, well control systems, and blowout prevention practices on offshore oil and gas operations; they also seek to address workplace safety by reducing the risk of human error. “These new rules and the aggressive reform agenda we have undertaken are raising the bar for the oil and gas industry’s safety and environmental practices on the Outer Continental Shelf,” said Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who announced the rules in a speech at the Woodrow Wilson International Center. “Under these new rules, operators will need to comply with tougher requirements for everything from well design and cementing practices to blowout preventers and employee training. They will also need to develop comprehensive plans to manage risks and hazards at every step of the drilling process, so as to reduce the risk of human error,” he said. One new rule addresses cementing and casing practices and the appropriate use of drilling fluids in order to maintain well bore integrity, the first line of defense against a blowout. The “blowout preventer,” the device that failed in the BP well, will need to undergo independent and expert review. The second regulation, known as the Workplace Safety Rule, requires offshore operators to have programs in place to identify potential hazards when they drill and a plan to address those hazards. “These two rules are part of a broader series of reforms we are undertaking to reduce the risks of offshore energy operations,” said Michael Bromwich, director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement.