"Clarity & Sense" Needed On EU Offshore Oil & Gas Safety Regulation

11 July 2012

SNP MEP Alyn Smith has demanded "clarity and sense" on the proposed EU-wide Offshore Oil and Gas Safety Regulation.

Speaking after a "fairly sensible" report was delivered to the European Parliament's energy committee, Alyn said:

"We need clarity and sense on the proposals for offshore oil & gas safety regulation.  This is a serious industry in Scotland and companies operating in Scotland's waters have been leading the way on safety in recent years without EU regulation.

"The report from my MEP colleague was fairly sensible and showed how the Commission's proposals can be improved, it's a step in the right direction and makes sound recommendations. The European Commission's proposals have to change if we are to find a solution which adds any value to the safety of our offshore oil and gas industry.

"It's sensible for this legislation to be a directive rather than a blanket regulation.  That won't make much sense to anyone who doesn't deal much with EU laws and rules but I am echoing calls from the industry and the trade unions when I say a regulation would unravel well-established, efficient systems we already have in place in the North Sea - and they're the experts.

"There's also a need for liability procedures to include civil as well as environmental damages, for independent verifiers for safety systems, and for member states to share best practice.

"I'll be making any amendments to this over the next wee while, pushing the Scottish industry's case. There is still some way to go, but I'm determined we should have a solution that helps rather than hinders."