US President Barack Obama has requested $358.4m to fund the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) as part of his 2012 budget.

The request indicates a $119.3m, or 50%, increase above the 2010 enacted level.

The fund will serve critical organisational and regulatory reforms in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, and develop domestic offshore energy resources safely.

BOEMRE director Michael Bromwich said that the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill exposed significant weaknesses in the agency’s method of doing business.

“This bureau has not had sufficient resources to provide an appropriate level of regulatory oversight of offshore oil and gas development,” Bromwich said. “These shortcomings have become more pronounced as operations have moved into deeper and deeper waters.”

The request for funds, if enacted, will provide BOEMRE with vital resources such as personnel, technical expertise and equipment.

Funds will be used to complete the reorganisation of BOEMRE, separating the offshore resource management and enforcement programmes.

Other areas that will use additional resources include detailed engineering reviews of offshore drilling and production safety systems, developing new risk-based inspections and safety oversight strategies, and implementing more aggressive reviews of company oil spill response plans.