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Offshore oil and gas exploration

EP fails to address real risks of offshore exploration

The European Parliament today adopted a report setting out its position on the need to revise EU legislation on offshore oil and gas exploration following the Deepwater Horizon disaster. The Greens expressed regret that the EP was not willing to push for stronger EU rules to address the risk of offshore exploration. After the vote, Green MEP Michèle Rivasi said:

"This summer's spill at a platform in the North Sea should have refocused EU legislators' minds on the fact that offshore exploration is far from risk free and on the need to ensure the highest safety and prevention standards are applied across Europe. Regrettably, the EP has today failed to heed this message and has fallen short of pushing for sufficient EU measures to address the risks of offshore oil and gas exploration, which clearly extend beyond national borders.

"Given the potentially disastrous consequences of an oil spill, the Greens believe priority should be given to measures to prevent any accidents. For this reason, the group not only proposed banning drilling in environmentally-sensitive areas like the Arctic, but also for the petroleum industry to invest more in measures to prevent and respond to accidents. Regrettably, the majority of MEPs failed to support these proposals.

"There were some positive elements in the report adopted by the EP today, notably the calls to strengthen the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) and its powers to control offshore platforms. We also welcome the proposals to clarify the full liability of the responsible firms in case of accidents, the need for mandatory insurance and to develop emergency plans. This would clearly be a breakthrough at EU-level. However, overall the report falls short of responding to the cross-border risks posed by offshore exploration."