The UK Government is to increase its vigilance of offshore projects in the wake of the recent Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

UK Energy Secretary Chris Huhne said that the Government will increase inspections of drilling rigs and the monitoring of offshore compliance.

“Initial steps are already underway, including plans to double the number of annual environmental inspections by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to drilling rigs,” Huhne said.

The Government has asked a new oil industry group to report its findings on the UK’s ability to prevent and respond to oil spills.

The UK has already carried out a review to confirm that appropriate measures are in place around its shores, according to Huhne.

“But Deepwater Horizon gives us pause for thought and, given the beginning of exploration in the deeper waters west of Shetland, there is every reason to increase our vigilance,” Huhne said.

“In addition, I will review our new and existing procedures as soon as the detailed analysis of the factors that caused the incident in the Gulf of Mexico are available. This will build on the work already begun by the newly formed Oil Spill Prevention and Response Advisory Group.”

The DECC is also looking into the indemnity and insurance requirements for operating in the UK Continental Shelf.