UK Energy Minister Opposes EC’s Offshore Safety Regulation

UK Energy Minister Opposes EC's Offshore Safety Regulation

The Energy Minister, Charles Hendry MP, will give the keynote speech at a special Oil & Gas UK seminar focusing on the European Commission’s (EC) proposals to take overall regulatory control of offshore safety.

Sponsored by EnQuest PLC, the event on Monday 11 June has been organised by Oil & Gas UK in order to give a more detailed overview of the various safety and operational issues which the proposed Regulation raises.

Mr Hendry is expected to outline to delegates the reasons why the UK Government is opposed to the EC’s proposals. Likewise, the head of the Health and Safety Executive’s Offshore Division, Steve Walker, will summarise the HSE’s position.

Energy Minister Charles Hendry said: “The UK welcomes the Commission’s intent to improve offshore safety and environmental protection throughout Europe.

“However I strongly oppose their use of a Regulation to achieve this aim. A Regulation will require significant amendments to be made to UK legislation. My view is that a Directive would be a better approach. It will allow each Member State to choose the most appropriate legislative regime, while also ensuring high standards in the oil and gas industry can be equally enforced across the Union.”

Oil & Gas UK has led the UK oil and gas industry’s opposition to the proposals, on the grounds that moving regulatory control away from the highly experienced and competent North Sea Regulators over to Brussels, which has no such experience or competence, would result in the opposite of its intended aim and weaken offshore safety. Oil & Gas UK’s Malcolm Webb, Robert Paterson and Andrew Basset will speak about Oil & Gas UK’s response, the safety implications raised by the proposal and the next steps in the Regulatory process.

Unite the Union has also expressed strong opposition and recently signed a joint position statement with the RMT union and Oil & Gas UK. Unite’s John Taylor will discuss his thoughts on the Regulation’s negative implications for the safety of the offshore workforce.

Similarly, a loud voice of opposition has also come from our North Sea neighbouring countries and a speaker representing the Norwegian workforce will also address attendees.

Also lined up to provide their own unique insights are Alfred Nordgård of OLF, the Norwegian oil and gas industry trade association and Gert-Jan Windhorst of NOGEPA, the Dutch oil and gas industry trade association. The European Commission has also been invited to participate.

Oil & Gas UK chief executive, Malcolm Webb, said: “The purpose of this event is to inform people of exactly what is being proposed by the European Commission’s proposals for safety of the oil and gas industry in member states and to discuss the potential impact on the workforce as well as day-to-day operations.

“I’m very pleased there will be a stellar line-up of speakers, including the Energy Minister Charles Hendry MP, the head of the HSE’s Offshore Division Steve Walker, Unite’s John Taylor and our senior industry colleagues from Norway and the Netherlands.”

Source: Oil & Gas UK, June 5, 2012