EU Wide Safety Regulation For Offshore Oil & Gas Would Be Destructive To Industry

10 July 2012


SNP MEP and sole Scots member of the European Parliament's Energy Committee Alyn Smith has today (Tuesday) said that the proposed EU-wide Offshore Oil and Gas Safety Regulation would ‘do more harm than good’ to the industry.

He did, however, welcome discussions taking place in Brussels this week, which included Professor John Paterson from Aberdeen University, as a ‘step in the right direction’.

Alyn believes that current proposals of blanket regulation across the whole of Europe would be detrimental and has reiterated his position that the flexibility of a directive, instead of regulation would be best suited for the industry.

The discussions in Parliament on the legislative form of the Commission's proposal have come ahead of a presentation of the Parliament's report on Wednesday. Alyn who has previously brought together industry experts and Commission officials to discuss the issue, has objected to the proposed regulation and will work with other MEPs to amend the current proposals.

Alyn said:

"These discussions were beneficial in the lead up to the presentation of the Parliament report in the Energy Committee this week, and are indeed a step in the right direction.

"I was pleased fellow Scot, Co-Director of Aberdeen University's Centre for Energy Law, Professor John Paterson, shares my concerns that a regulation runs the risk of unravelling well established current systems.

"We all share the same concerns, and we are all committed to ensuring the highest health and safety and environmental standards possible. In Scotland, we take the issue very seriously, however the proposed new EU-wide regulation would be to the detriment of existing offshore safety legislation and will do more harm than good.

"I'm reiterating the unanimous views of industry and union representatives when I say the package as drafted is a retrograde step in many ways. The proposal was well intentioned, but is simply not fit for purpose.

"The report to be presented on Wednesday, drafted by Belgian MEP Ivo Belet, will suggest changes to the Commission's proposal. I will then, along with colleagues suggest amendments to the text. There is still some way to go, but I am committed to working towards a solution which helps, rather than hinders."