Health & Safety Report 2013


3.3 Proposed European Union Safety Regulation 4 In October 2011, the European Commission (EC) published a draft Regulation on the Safety of Offshore Oil and Gas Prospection, Exploration and Production. This was an output from the EC’s review of offshore oil and gas safety in European Union (EU) waters carried out in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010. The review concluded that safety improvements were necessary and deemed a European Regulation as the most appropriate legal instrument to drive consistent application of those improvements throughout the EU. Oil & Gas UK supports the general objective of seeking to raise safety standards across European offshore oil and gas operations. However, the organisation was staunch in its opposition to a Regulation as a legislative means of achieving that objective. An EU Regulation would have dismantled the post-Piper legal framework in the UK and would have been hugely administratively burdensome to apply (both for the regulator and industry) without significant safety improvement. From the outset, Oil & Gas UK marshalled a robust case in opposition to the Regulation and promoted a Directive as a more appropriate legal instrument. We joined with other established oil and gas producing nations (Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands), as well as the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (OGP), to develop robust arguments in defence of existing sound regulatory regimes and to contest the proposed EU Regulation. In 2012, Oil & Gas UK worked with its member companies to provide input into UK responses to various aspects of the ongoing debate, engaging actively with key stakeholders, including the HSE, DECC and the trade unions. Oil & Gas UK also commissioned GL Noble Denton to carry out a technical review of the EC impact assessment that formed a key element in support of the proposed EU regulation. This independent review concluded that the impact assessment was fundamentally flawed and did not provide the necessary justification for introducing a Regulation. Meanwhile, the Norwegian Oil and Gas Association also commissioned DNV to conduct a similar review and its findings were closely aligned with those of GL Noble Denton. In February 2013, the European Energy Commissioner announced that safety improvement would be pursued in the form of a Directive rather than a Regulation. This represents a successful outcome on the part of Oil & Gas UK, partner national trade associations, the UK regulators and trade unions. Oil & Gas UK will continue to lend its weight in the effort to transpose the Directive into UK legislation (see section 10.1 of this report).

4 Additional information can be found at:

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