EU

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have supported new regulations to improve the safety of offshore oil and gas platforms, in spite of criticism from Green MEPs.

On 20 May, the proposal was debated by the European Parliament and agreed in principle with the Council of Ministers, reported the BBC.

On 21 May, MEPs will hold their final vote on the draft directive during the daily voting session.

As per the proposal, oil and gas companies will have to submit emergency response forms before being granted a licence to begin drilling in European Union (EU) waters.

The EU has been planning to bring in a new law since the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, which killed 11 oil rig crew members and led to spilling of more than half a million barrels worth of oil into the sea.

French Green MEP Michèle Rivasi blamed the UK, Denmark and Netherlands of being "selfish" for "watering down" the Commission’s original proposal.

"The proposal was debated by the European Parliament and agreed in principle with the Council of Ministers, reported the BBC."

The European Commission (EC) proposed the new law in the form of a regulation, which should have direct binding upon all countries.

On February 2013, a political agreement was reached between the European Parliament and the Council on the EC’s proposal for legislation on the safety of oil and gas operations in the EU.

Before proposing the legislation, the Commission reviewed the existing safety framework for offshore operations in member states.

Welcoming the step, EU Commissioner for Energy Günther Oettinger said: "Past accidents have shown the devastating consequences when things go badly wrong offshore. Recent ‘near-misses’ in EU waters reminded us of the need for a stringent safety regime."

The new law was, however, changed to a directive after negotiation with the Parliament and the Council.

Conservative group spokesperson Vicky Ford welcomed the proposal and said it was "a common sense approach", as opposed to the "Brussels power-drive originally proposed by the Commission".


Image: EU Commissioner for Energy Günther Oettinger. Photo courtesy of Jacques Grießmayer.

Energy