European Commission Remains Firm On Oil Drill Ban

14 July 2010
SNP Member of the European Parliament Alyn Smith has tonight (Wednesday) expressed his disappointment that EU Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger has remained steadfast in his commitment to a total ban on new oil exploration in the EU.
The Commissioner this evening met with representatives of the oil and gas sector but only reiterated his conviction that there should be a freeze on new permits for drilling.

Commenting after the meeting, Smith said:

"This is disappointing news from the Commissioner. The Gulf of Mexico incident is a reminder to all that there is no room for complacency and safety must come first. However, for him to compare lax US standards with the tightly regulated industry in North Sea is simply missing the point.

"There is as much oil still under the North Sea and, crucially, under the North Atlantic, as has already been taken out, and the oil and gas sector will remain a vital part of Scotland and Europe's energy mix for years to come, even as we develop our glittering renewables potential.

"For the Commissioner to talk of a ban at a point when the energy sector remains fragile, albeit recovering, is distinctly unhelpful, particularly when the case for one has simply not been made.

"This is a naked power grab on the part of European Commission and must be rebuffed on all fronts."