EU Offshore Safety Regulations: Guidance on New Rules
After the Deepwater Horizon accident occurred in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010, the European Commission reviewed the existing regulatory framework around Europe. It concluded that the divergent and fragmentary nature of the requirements in place applying to the safety of offshore oil and gas operations did not provide adequate assurance that risks from offshore accidents were minimized.
As a result, the European Commission published the Offshore Directive on 28 June 2013. This aims to “help prevent accidents, as well as respond promptly and efficiently should one occur. The directive, broadly based on the UK’s current offshore safety regime according to the UK’s Health and Safety Executive, includes requirements relating to licensing, environmental protection, emergency response, and liability, as well as safety. And it will come into effect in just a few weeks’ time, 19 July.
Under the new regulations, companies must prepare a major hazard report for their offshore installation before exploration or production begins. This report must contain a risk assessment as well as an emergency response plan and be updated whenever appropriate.