O&G UK Welcomes Moratorium Rejection by Energy, Climate Change Committee

O&G UK has welcomed the Energy and Climate Change Committee's rejection of both the calls for a moratorium on offshore drilling in the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) and increased regulatory oversight from the European Commission in the Committee's report published today into UK deepwater drilling.

The UK industry's leading representative body further notes that the Committee agrees that the regulatory regime on drilling in this country is robust and tougher than that applying in the Gulf of Mexico.

The report makes various recommendations for improvement which Oil & Gas UK and the industry will of course now consider.

Malcolm Webb, Oil & Gas UK's chief executive, said, "Oil & Gas UK welcomes the Committee's clear statement that a moratorium on drilling in the UK is not only unnecessary but would also undermine UK energy security. We also warmly welcome the Committee's utter rejection of calls for increased regulatory oversight from the European Commission, which we believe could weaken the UK’s strong regulation and safety performance.

"The review being carried out by the Oil Spill Prevention and Response Advisory Group (OSPRAG), comprising industry, regulators and trade unions, has also confirmed that the UK Safety Case regime drives the right behaviors and furthermore OSPRAG has already made significant progress in addressing a number of the concerns raised by the Committee, including the design of the new capping system capable of dealing with sub-sea blowouts, the development of which the Committee specifically welcomed.

"There are in the report a number of detailed recommendations (such as that for two sets of blind shear rams on blowout preventers) and observations (such as the perceived lack of clarity on the identity of parties liable for offshore incidents) which we do not entirely support. We will write to the Committee with our views on these matters shortly."