EU Proposes New Rules For Improving Offshore Drilling Safety

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October 27, 2011

The European Commission has proposed increasing safety standards in offshore oil and gas operations from the design to the final removal of an installation. The new rules introduce requirements for effective prevention and response to a major accident.

BRUSSELS (Dow Jones)–The European Union’s executive body Thursday proposed new rules to increase the safety of oil and gas offshore drilling, in a move aimed at preventing accidents in EU waters similar to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

“The idea is to avoid accidents here, but if there is environmental damage, the idea is that the damage should be compensated for” and cleaned up, Guenther Oettinger, European Commissioner for energy, said during a press conference.

According to the new proposal, companies will have to submit to national authorities a plan on how they are ensuring safety for personnel and preventing environmental hazards. They will also have to show that they would be ready to react to any emergency and have the necessary financial and technical capabilities to clean up in case of a major accident.

“If there is a spill, the operators are responsible,” Oettinger said, adding that the rules would extend that provision to almost all platforms in EU waters.

-By Alessandro Torello, Dow Jones Newswires

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