The Council of the European Union yesterday adopted a directive on safety of offshore oil and gas operations.
The new regulatory framework aims at reducing the occurrence of major accidents related to offshore oil and gas operations and to limit their consequences. Consequently, it will increase the protection of the marine environment and coastal economies against pollution.
It establishes minimum conditions for safe offshore exploration and exploitation and improves the response mechanisms in the event of an major accident.
The new law will apply to existing and future installations and operations. Offshore oil and gas operations will only be conducted by operators appointed by licensees or licensing authorities. The directive contains provisions ensuring the independence and objectivity of the competent authority. To prevent conflicts of interest, member states should ensure a clear separation between regulatory functions relating to offshore safety and environment and regulatory functions relating to economic development, including licensing and revenues management. In addition, the directive also provides rules for transparency and sharing of information, cooperation between member states, emergency response plans and transboundary emergency preparedness and response.
No later than three years after the completion of transitional periods, the Commission will submit a report to the European Parliament and to the Council assessing the implementation of this directive.
The directive is addressed to all member states. Landlocked countries and member states with offshore waters that have no offshore activities will need to apply only a limited number of its provisions. Member states with offshore waters will have two years to transpose the directive into national legislation, while a landlocked country will only have to transpose it once a company registers in such a country and conducts operations outside of the Union.
The directive will enter into force 20 days after publication in the Official Journal of the EU.
Press Release, June 11, 2013