Oil Drilling Moratorium Proposal Binned By EU Parliament

13 September 2011


SNP MEP Alyn Smith has hailed today's vote by the full European Parliament in Strasbourg on the safety of offshore oil and gas activities as a great result for Scotland's marine environment and safety at sea in our oil and gas sector.
A proposed amendment threatened to bring the industry to a standstill with a call for no further authorisations of offshore oil and gas drilling and exploration activities until further reforms have been made to the sector. The amendment was convincingly rejected by the Parliament by 558 votes to 94, and the final report was adopted by a massive majority of 602 votes in favour and only 64 against.
Speaking from Strasbourg, Alyn said:

"I well remember pouncing on this almost a year ago when a moratorium was first proposed, and am pleased that it is clear from today's vote that we have won the argument. This final report has taken a proportionate, sensible approach to this important subject, and its tone is markedly more reasonable than some of the comments we have seen emanating from this building in the past.
"The drilling activities that take place in EU waters do not operate in the same way as those that take place in the Gulf of Mexico, and to suggest they do is mischievous in the extreme. Nobody can afford to be complacent but our safety regime is thorough. It is important to keep these things in constant review, but completely halting new authorisations is not in any way a proportionate or measured response.
"I welcome the reviews that this report proposes, and I do not think Scottish industry has anything to fear from this, rather we have more to offer as the EU tries to formalise the exchange of best practice and operational procedure across the continent. Scots should be front and centre when it comes to passing on our world leading expertise.
"Nonetheless, the EU should not be seeking to take control of this industry. There is a big difference between coordinating best practice and removing the prerogative of Member States to determine their own conditions for exploiting their own energy resources. I am glad that this report has absolutely made that clear.
"A good result in Strasbourg today."