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May 25, 2010 8:27 AM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

Changes coming in offshore drilling

Experts say the petroleum industry's loose regulation and failure to plan for the worst is likely to change given the focus of attention on BP's massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Regulators are likely to make permitting, inspections and equipment requirements for rigs more stringent. Lawmakers want to extract more money from the industry to help pay for any future cleanups. And insurers are bound to raise rates for underwriting a risky business.

But longtime oil analyst Fadel Gheit of Oppenheimer & Co says the increased scrutiny - and cost of doing business - is all worth it. He says the industry is vital and can't be allowed to self-destruct.

But experts say regardless of regulations, the industry's expanding pursuit of oil and natural gas deposits under the ocean floor won't change.

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