EU Officials Draft New Offshore Drilling Safety Law

These new mandates should help prevent offshore drilling disasters like the BP oil spill in 2010.

The European Parliament and European Commission have agreed upon new legislation regarding oil safety in the EU and have drafted a law that will go before member countries for approval. These improvements are promised to be the highest standards of drilling health and safety in the world.

The new legislation focuses on offshore drilling and was driven by desires to prevent offshore disasters like the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and subsequent oil spill into the Gulf of Mexico.

The proposition will need to be approved by EU member countries in upcoming months. If approved, it would require companies seeking drilling licenses to present major hazard reports and emergency response plans.

"Past accidents have shown the devastating consequences when things go badly wrong offshore. Recent 'near-misses' in EU waters reminded us of the need for a stringent safety regime," said EU Energy commissioner Günther Oettinger in a statement. "These rules will make sure that the highest safety standards already mostly in place in some Member States will be followed at every oil and gas platform across Europe.”

Additionally, only operators with proven technical and financial abilities would be given permission to drill.

"Furthermore, the new law will ensure that we react effectively and promptly in the event of an accident and minimize the possible damage to the environment and the livelihoods of coastal communities," Oettinger said.

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