The Gulf oil spill and its aftermath is a good reminder of the challenges of regulating complex operations at the frontiers of knowledge and technology. There was a catalogue of regulatory failings as evidenced by the moratorium on deep water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. That the pre-drill safety and environmental response documentation was apparently full of errors and yet was not picked up but the US regulator, the MMS is one demonstration of this. Remember also the PIper Alpha oil platform disaster in the UK North Sea in 1988 killed 167 people was attribuatble to US company Occidental. This led to a complete rethink of safety regulation in the UK (without any anti-USA retoric needed incidentaly). Maybe its part of the human condition that regulation on behalf of society falls behind profit driven technological advance and it takes a catastrophic event for society to take action. Witness the financial sector and its complex products. This is a timely reminder for all of us that good governance its not just about financial transparency and that oil field operations pose risks before any revenues are generated. If the US is incapable of competent regulation what chance does Ghana or Sierra Leone stand? Perhaps we need to have international technical regulations and a regulatory body that emerging producers can turn to for help?