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EU drafts plans for offshore oil spills

Feb. 22, 2013 at 7:46 AM   |   Comments

BRUSSELS, Feb. 22 (UPI) -- The European Union said it was taking a lessons-learned approach from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spilt in drafting its own offshore safety rules.

The European Union proposed legislation that would require oil and natural gas companies to submit emergency response plans and potential hazard reports before being given a license to drill offshore.

Belgian lawmaker Ivo Belet said the European Union needs policies that reflect safety concerns that grew out of the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

"Europe learned its lessons from the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe and wants to reduce the risks of offshore oil and gas drilling to a minimum," he said in a statement. "The previous directive is nearly 20 years old and does not guarantee the safety of offshore drilling operations in an adequate manner."

Eleven rig workers died when a well blowout sparked an explosion that sank the Deepwater Horizon platform in the Gulf of Mexico. The deep-water well failure led to one of the worst offshore oil spills in history.

BP and rig owner Transocean have agreed to pay billions of dollars to settle legal claims from the spill.

The proposed EU legislation would require energy companies to provide evidence that have the means to cover any potential liability related to offshore oil and gas operations.

EU members, under the proposed rules, would be called on to prepare emergency plans to respond to incidents in their territorial waters. Member states with few offshore reserves or landlocked countries need only limited provisions.

The measure goes before an EU energy committee for a vote next month.

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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