The seemingly limitless amounts of oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico earlier this year left many Americans feeling powerless over the colossal spill.
To make matters worse, President Barack Obama had to wait — and then wait some more — before the company responsible for the spill, BP, finally devised a way to stanch the leak.
The spectacle also made uncomfortable viewing for leaders in the European Union, where there are also serious concerns about the ability of regulators to assert their authority over the oil and gas industry.
Those concerns are focused on whether oil and gas companies are sufficiently liable for environmental damage from drilling offshore, and on whether the Union, like the United States, should halt new offshore drilling.
Mr. Obama announced his country's moratorium within weeks of the spill. It is now scheduled to end in late November but could be lifted sooner, partly to aid the economy.