Ireland’s Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte TD, has welcomed “significant safety measures arising” from the agreement on the Offshore Safety Directive in Brussels today.
Final discussions were held with the European Parliament today to reach agreement on the proposal on safety of offshore oil and gas prospection, exploration and production activities. The Offshore Safety Directive proposes a new area of competence for the EU in the respect of the regulation of offshore oil and gas exploration and production activities and their potential to give rise to both safety and major environmental hazards. The Directive came about as a result of a review of the regulatory framework applying in Member States that was carried out in the wake of Deep Water Horizon disaster in 2010 and today discussions with the European Parliament concluded how this should be achieved.
Building on the considerable work and progress of the Cyprus Presidency the agreement reached today, which now requires final approval by the Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER), will ensure a consistent use of best practices for major hazards control by oil and gas industry offshore operations potentially affecting Union waters or shores; implement best regulatory practices in all European jurisdictions with offshore oil and gas activities; strengthen Union's preparedness and response capacity to deal with emergencies potentially affecting Union citizens, or environment; and improve and clarify existing Union liability and compensation provisions.
In welcoming today’s development, Minister Rabbitte said:
“Ultimately our goal as policy-makers in the area of offshore exploration activity is to improve safety in extremely challenging environments. I believe there will be significant safety measures arising from these discussions that will benefit our global environment.”