Oil & Gas UK comments on EU Commissioner's speechNews // July 16, 2010
Commenting on a recent speech by the EU Energy Commissioner, Malcolm Webb, chief executive of Oil & Gas UK, said: “We are deeply concerned by the Energy Commissioner’s comments, which seem to be pointing towards a wholly unjustifiable, knee-jerk reaction to the events in the Gulf of Mexico."
"In the UK, our regime for safety is clearly more advanced than that applying in the United States. It is controlled by highly technically competent and professional regulators. The idea that the EU Commission should be seeking to control the affairs of the UK Offshore Safety Division quite frankly concerns me."
"Furthermore, given that the cause of the incident in the US is still unclear, the rush to judgement and the suggestion of a moratorium on drilling in UK waters is, in my view, wholly unwarranted."
“In the UK, we have strong and competent regulators in the Department for Energy and the Offshore Safety Division of the HSE who preside over a robust regulatory regime borne out of the recommendations of the Cullen Report. This dynamic, goal setting safety regime has served us well for over twenty years of operations during which time nearly 7,000 wells have been successfully drilled in the UK continental shelf (UKCS)."
“The Cullen Report was produced following the 1988 Piper Alpha disaster in which 167 people lost their lives. The goal-setting nature of the regime places the onus firmly on the industry to continually demonstrate to HSE that the companies are taking measures to minimise the risk of oil and gas releases to as low as reasonably practicable. The regime also requires an independent and competent person, separate from the drilling line of management, to verify the well design, maintenance and control. In the UK, responsibility within Government for licensing is separate from that of safety."
“Finally, notwithstanding our good track record, I should make it clear that this industry is not complacent on these matters and the UK’s Oil Spill Prevention and Response Advisory Group (OSPRAG) in which industry, the regulators and the trade unions are all engaged, is already carrying out a thorough review of UK procedures and practices and will institute any changes seen to be necessary either as a result of that review or the findings of the investigations and enquiries currently ongoing in the United States.”