LONDON, Dec. 18 (UPI) -- The British government said Tuesday that safety and environmental protection were top priorities for offshore oil and natural gas development.
The British Energy Ministry released guidance on how offshore oil developments should ensure safety and environmental protection before exploration consent is given, Energy Minister John Hayes said.
"It is vital that our oil and gas activities meet the highest possible standards of safety and environmental protection," he said in a statement.
An increase in frequency of offshore oil and gas emergency response drills from 5 years to 3 years and long-term oversight from a multi-agency panel were among the recommendations outlined by Hayes.
"I am confident that the government and industry responses to the independent panel's recommendations, alongside other ongoing work, will ensure that the U.K.'s offshore oil and gas industry builds upon its existing high standards," Hayes stated.