Norway: Expert Environments See Weaknesses in EU’s Offshore Safety Regulation

“There is absolutely reason to question the conclusions used by the EU Commission as a basis for its proposed regulation for offshore safety and the effect of such a regulation,” says Alfred Nordgård in the Norwegian Oil Industry Association (OLF).

In October 2011, the EU Commission submitted a proposed regulation for offshore safety in Europe. It was accompanied by an impact assessment of alternative implementations, their effect on risk reduction for major accidents and the costs associated with implementation of the alternatives.

Following the submission of the proposed EU regulation and impact analysis, industry organisations Oil & Gas UK and OLF tasked independent expert environments with conducting similar studies of the frequency and costs of oil blowouts. The work was done by GL Noble Denton (GLND) and Det Norske Veritas (DNV), respectively. Both studies arrived at different conclusions than the EU Commission.

“Two independent expert environments are now disproving the Commission’s conclusions regarding the existing safety level in offshore activities and effects of the regulation. The regulation will entail considerable costs for both authorities and the industry, while there is no documented positive effect on the safety level,” says Nordgård.

He believes the EU regulation distances itself from the positive elements in current regulations for the North Sea that were highlighted following the Macondo blowout.

“A regulation which does not contribute to improved safety, but could rather weaken the safety level, is pointless. It has been very important for the oil and gas nations surrounding the North Sea to contribute their viewpoints to the EU Commission,” says Nordgård.

In March and May 2012, the EU Commission organised so-called peer review meetings. OLF, Oil & Gas UK, GLND and DNV, among others, participated. The meetings have resulted in a summary report which is now completed.

Press Release, July 20, 2012

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