Chris Oynes

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Chris Craig Oynes (28 April 1947 – 18 October 2017) was an American lawyer and Federal government administrator.[1]

Oynes was born in Anaheim, California to Christian and Lorraine Oynes.[1] Oynes received a BA degree in political science from California State University at Fullerton, and he received a JD degree from George Washington University.[1][2][3][4][5]

Oynes served as U.S. Minerals Management Service (MMS) associate director for offshore energy and minerals management before he retired in May 2010. Oynes, who oversaw oil and gas leasing in the Gulf of Mexico for 12 years[6] before being promoted to MMS associate director had come under fire for being too close to the industry officials he regulated.[7][3]

During his tenure at the Gulf regional office in Louisiana for the MMS, Oynes played a central role in an offshore leasing foul-up that cost taxpayers an estimated $10 billion in lost revenue. The Interior Department's inspector general called the matter "a jaw-dropping example of bureaucratic bungling." Despite that, the agency's then-director, Johnnie Burton,[8] promoted Oynes in 2007 to associate director for the offshore program.[9][10][3]

On May 24, 2010 The New York Times reported that under his watch in the Gulf, MMS regulators allowed industry officials to fill in their own inspection reports in pencil and then turned them over to the regulators, who traced over them in pen before submitting the reports to the agency. MMS staff also routinely accepted meals, tickets to sporting events and gifts from oil companies.[11] In 2008, a report from the Interior Department's Inpector-General found that MMS employees had received improper gifts from energy industry representatives.[4][11]

In the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Oynes announced that he would retire at the end of May 2010.[12][13][14][15] According to the Minerals Management website, Oynes had "...more than 30 years of Federal Government experience..."[2][14][7][4]

Oynes died on 18 October 2017 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d Anonymous (19 October 2017). "Chris Craig Oynes (1947-2017)". The Advocate. Baton Rouge, LA: The Advocate. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
  2. ^ a b Anonymous (2010). "Chris Oynes, Associate Director, Offshore Energy and Minerals Management". Minerals Management Service. Minerals Management Service. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  3. ^ a b c Anonymous (5 February 2007). "Chris Oynes Named Associate Director of MMS Offshore Program". Offshore Magazine. Tulsa, OK: PennWell Corp. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  4. ^ a b c CNN Wire Staff (17 May 2010). "Federal Official Overseeing Offshore Oil Development to Retire Early". CNN. CNN. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  5. ^ Anonymous (October 2000). "Eastern GOM: Boom or Bust? Joint Industry Association Luncheon" (PDF). The APInion. New Orleans, LA: American Petroleum Institute, Delta Chapter. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  6. ^ Anonymous (2010). "Dr. Chris Oynes". GulfBase. GulfBase. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  7. ^ a b Eilperin, Juliet (18 May 2010). "Independent Probe of BP Oil Spill in Works". Washington Post. Washington, DC: Washington Post. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  8. ^ Chris Oynes Named Associate Director of the MMS Offshore Program Archived May 28, 2010, at the Wayback Machine, February 5, 2007
  9. ^ Federal oversight of oil industry is broken: An editorial (The Times-Picayune, May 16, 2010)
  10. ^ DeParle, Jason (7 August 2010). "Minerals Service Had a Mandate to Produce Results". The New York Times. New York, NY: The New York Times. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  11. ^ a b Urbina, Ian (24 May 2010). "Inspector General's Inquiry Faults Regulators". The New York Times. New York, NY: The New York Times. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  12. ^ Burka, Paul (July 2010). "Oil and Water". Texas Monthly. Austin, TX: Texas Monthly. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  13. ^ Sullivan, Eilleen; Daly, Matthew (17 May 2010). "MMS drilling official retires in oil spill fallout". The San Diego Union-Tribune. San Diego, CA: The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  14. ^ a b Anonymous (17 May 2010). "Chris Oynes, MMS Official, To Step Down In Wake Of Gulf Oil Spill". Huffington Post. Huffington Post. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  15. ^ Anonymous (17 May 2010). "Coast Guard Warn of Oil Spill Reaching Florida Coast". BBC. BBC. Retrieved 19 June 2018.