EU, US Regulators Call For Better Global Offshore Safety Standards

July 18, 2013

Just days before European rules on offshore safety for European companies abroad enter into force, and just a few months before additional requirements for companies operating in U.S. waters take effect, the European Commissioner for Energy, Guenther Oettinger, has called for operating and drilling companies to deliver the highest standards including when operating outside of American and European regulated waters.

At the time of his visit to Washington, DC, on July 16, Commissioner Oettinger said that the path to a strong and reliable culture of offshore safety depends upon global companies operating to the highest standards. Offshore accidents around the world continue to involve American and European companies. This places the spotlight on the global companies – who have done much to improve standards since Macondo – to give leadership to safety wherever they operate, and where the U.S. and EU rules do not apply.

"Under separate arrangements coming into force this year in Europe and the U.S., national regulators will exercise additional vigilance over oil and gas companies to ensure they accelerate the advances in technology and human understanding achieved since Macondo, whilst exercising stringent control of risks of major accidents at all times," said Commissioner Oettinger.

"We call upon oil and gas companies and drilling contractors operating in European Union waters to respond to the challenge to their leadership in global safety and environmental protection. We call on them to exert their influence to see a rise in standards both rapidly and permanently, and to ensure the transparency of that achievement. Beginning without delay, we hope to see full and rigorous disclosure of safety data by all companies in the international industry associations' reports."

Commissioner Oettinger concluded: "Our colleagues in the U.S. Department of the Interior have reaffirmed the value of the long-standing cooperation between offshore regulators in Europe and the USA in securing the transparently highest levels of safety in the offshore oil and gas industry. On Thursday, I will meet with the leaders of the offshore industry in Houston, and I look forward to hearing their views on what more is to be done to reassure people everywhere that the safety lessons of Macondo – and indeed the legacy of Piper Alpha - are truly and visibly embedded wherever our companies operate."

Source: Delegation of the European Union to the United States, 2013.