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ECR

Conservatives win through for offshore oil and gas industry

21 May 2013

Conservatives win through for offshore oil and gas industry

ECR MEPs today declared victory in their long-running battle over offshore oil safety rules.

ECR MEPs today declared victory in their long-running battle over offshore oil safety rules.

Since the Gulf of Mexico crisis there have been continual calls from some MEPs to effectively to shut down oil and gas drilling in Europe. EU officials made a power grab over the offshore industry by proposing a European super-regulator and one-size-fits-all safety legislation.

North Sea oil and gas companies pointed out that the European draft legislation would make the industry less safe and would cost over £140 million in legal and administration fees to implement.

UK Conservative MEP Vicky Ford began following the European proposal on offshore safety soon after the 2010 accident. She tabled over 350 amendments to the draft law, changing the text line by line. Today the amended regulations cleared their final legislative hurdle when a majority of MEPs approved them at a plenary session of the Eurpoean Parliament in Strasbourg.

The North Sea approach, which has developed progressively since the Piper Alpha disaster in 1988, has been recognised globally as best practice for safety and the environment. The UK, Norway and Denmark account for 90 per cent of all the oil and gas produced in Europe and it is largely sourced offshore.

Mrs Ford said: “Offshore safety in the North Sea is far from the tick-box culture which led to the BP disaster in America. The EU Commission proposals would have made the industry more dangerous and every safety manual on every oil rig would have had to be torn up and re-written.

“Lawyers would have made millions, safety standards would have fallen and oil prices would have gone up. The cost of heating our homes is high enough without unnecessary costs being piled on top. These amendments aimed to ensure that good practice is exported to other seas.

“The changes we have achieved show that if you are persistent and persuasive enough, a sensible argument can eventually win through.”

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