Association questions need for Europe-wide safety rules

Offshore staff

LONDON – Oil & Gas UK has attended a meeting in Brussels to reaffirm its opposition to the European Commission’s proposed offshore safety regulation for programs around Europe.

The association views this as a retrograde step which could impair rather than enhance the safety of UK offshore oil and gas operations.

CEO Malcolm Webb said: “While we will always support proper moves to improve safety standards, this proposal to dismantle the UK’s world-class safety regime which is built on decades of experience, and replace it with new centralized EU regulation, is likely to have exactly the opposite effect.

“We are encouraged by the fact that the UK government is of the same position and has signalled its intention to oppose the regulation in the best interests of safety.

“The Commission has put forward an unjustified, poorly worded, and ambiguous draft regulation which risks causing serious confusion within the industry and a very significant amount of unnecessary and unproductive work for regulators in the UK and elsewhere. This will only serve to stretch the resources of those regulators and divert attention away from their work with the industry on front line safety issues.”

Webb pointed out that of the 27 EU member states, only the UK, the Netherlands, and Denmark had substantial offshore oil and gas industries. Norway too, being within the European Economic Area, would also be subject to the regulation despite having no vote on the matter.

“Transferring legislative competence to a group of countries without any experience in the matter carries a very significant risk for the future of safety in the North Sea,” he said. “The same is true for countries outside the North Sea, such as Italy, which have smaller production volumes but nonetheless very effective regulatory systems and an exemplary safety record. 

“Running the risk of damaging North Sea safety is totally unnecessary as any lagging safety regimes in the EU could be more effectively encouraged to come up to North Sea standards via an EU directive whilst  leaving those world class safety systems intact.”

2/1/2012

 

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