Caribbean nations are seeking ways to balance offshore oil development with the fear of oil spills in a region that relies on tourism for its economic well-being. Along with officials from Trinidad, Mexico, Cuba and the Bahamas, former U.S. government regulators, industry officials, and NGO representatives met in Trinidad and Tobago on September 13 to discuss the best ways to handle offshore energy development. Chief among the concerns: spill response measures.

Bracewell partner Kevin Ewing, in comments with Greenwire prior to the start of the conference, stated that “Aligning the legal and commercial regimes is a big part of the puzzle. It’s smart to foster serious, experience-based dialogue to put the focus in the right place.” One of the issues, according to Ewing, is cooperation after a spill occurs. Speaking with the FuelFix blog, he stated that “Everyone is real clear about who owns the oil when it’s in the reservoir.” But “the moment it’s actually floating on the surface, no one wants to own the oil.”