MEPs vote for more flexible offshore rules

16th October 2012

Related Topics

Related tags

  • Conventional ,
  • Pollution & Waste Management ,
  • Control ,
  • Prevention & Control ,
  • Water



EU plans to overhaul environment and safety regulations for the offshore oil and gas industry will have little impact in the UK

In a vote on the European Commission’s proposals to tighten safety standards across the offshore oil and gas sector, members of the parliament’s energy industry committee rejected imposing new rules through a regulation, which would force all member states to take the same approach, in favour of a new directive giving individual governments more flexibility in how they apply legislation.

Parliamentary rapporteur Ivo Belet, from the European People's Party, confirmed that MEPs had questioned the value of imposing significant changes to existing national legislation in some member states, such as the UK. “Such redrafting would divert scarce resources from the safety assessments and inspections on the field”, he said.

Fiona Hall, Liberal Democrat MEP and European energy spokesperson, said: “The agreed text will ensure that member states who are putting offshore drilling regimes in place for the first time do so to high safety and environmental standards. But those member states, like the UK, that already do have established practices will not have to re-invent the wheel.

“The UK already has a very highly-regarded safety regime and the new EU rules mean that we can keep our own system, but other countries will have to adopt similar safety standards.”
The news was welcomed by Malcolm Webb, chief executive of the industry body Oil & Gas UK: “This is the best way to achieve the commission's objective of raising offshore safety standards across the EU, to the high levels already present in the North Sea. A regulation would do exactly the opposite and weaken the UK’s already world-class offshore health and safety regime.”
While the industry committee’s vote in favour of a directive concurred with that of the environment committee in September, the MEPs refused to back the environment committee’s call for a halt to drilling in the Arctic.

However, the MEPs agree that the new rules should require firms drilling for oil and gas offshore to submit emergency response plans and demonstrate they have the funds to remedy any environmental damage caused by potential spills before being awarded licenses.

“We are following the ‘polluter pays’ principle,” confirmed Hall. “Companies must be held liable for the clean up costs of any potential environmental damage. They must prove that means and mechanisms are in place, for example mutual insurance, from the very start of their operations or be refused a licence to drill.”
The parliament will now enter into negotiations over the final draft text with the European Council.


Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.

Transform articles

Swing voters show strong support for renewables

There is strong support for renewable energy as a source of economic growth among UK voters, particularly among those intending to switch their support for a political party.

16th May 2024

Read more

A project promoter’s perspective on the environmental challenges facing new subsea power cables

3rd April 2024

Read more

The UK’s major cities lag well behind their European counterparts in terms of public transport use. Linking development to transport routes might be the answer, argues Huw Morris

3rd April 2024

Read more

Tom Harris examines the supply chain constraints facing the growing number of interconnector projects

2nd April 2024

Read more

The UK government’s carbon capture, usage and storage (CCUS) strategy is based on optimistic techno-economic assumptions that are now outdated, Carbon Tracker has warned.

13th March 2024

Read more

The UK government’s latest Public Attitudes Tracker has found broad support for efforts to tackle climate change, although there are significant concerns that bills will rise.

13th March 2024

Read more

A consortium including IEMA and the Good Homes Alliance have drafted a letter to UK government ministers expressing disappointment with the proposed Future Homes Standard.

26th February 2024

Read more

Global corporations such as Amazon and Google purchased a record 46 gigawatts (GW) of solar and wind energy last year, according to BloombergNEF (BNEF).

13th February 2024

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close