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Victory for offshore oil and gas safety


The European Parliament has today sealed the deal on a package of rules covering the safety of our offshore oil and gas sector.

SNP MEP Alyn Smith, the only Scot who sits on the European Parliament's powerful Energy Committee, has claimed victory today in his fight for an acceptable European safety regime which protects Scotland's North Sea workers.  Alyn worked closely with the industry and unions on this and, as a result, submitted 18 amendments to make it practicable for Scotland.  Most of these amendments were, with others, absorbed into compromise amendments which have made the text not just workable but positively advantageous to the oil and gas sector.  Most notable was an amendment which changed the proposal from a strict Regulation to a more flexible Directive which will ensure that our world-class offshore safety standards are not in any way lowered.


Speaking from Strasbourg after the vote, Alyn said:


"We've done a good bit of work today.  It's taken a while to get to the point where this Directive would be workable for Scotland's offshore oil and gas sector and I'm pleased that we've now reached that stage.


"This is a fine example of how the legislative process should work.  What started off as an unacceptable proposal for Scotland has been transformed with the help of the industry, unions and other stakeholders.  They were on the ball with this and worked closely with MEPs to make sure that the incoming EU legislation wouldn't diminish the oil and gas safety regime in the North Sea.  Quite the reverse, these EU rules have Scottish fingerprints all over them and will form the basis of EU rules which will become the gold standard for operations worldwide.  As we see increasing operations in other countries it is all the more important that our workers in far off places have a comprehensive set of clear and well tested rules to work with.


"Scotland knows more than most how important safety is for offshore workers.  This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Piper Alpha disaster and the horrendous consequences of that are still very much in the minds of Scots.


“Our North Sea operators already work under world-class safety standards.  Scotland has played a leading role in framing this legislation which makes the EU rules the gold standard worldwide.“