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British gov't gives nod to EU offshore rules

June 11, 2013 at 6:51 AM   |   Comments

LONDON, June 11 (UPI) -- The British government will use European Union measures on offshore oil and natural gas safety as a benchmark for the domestic industry, an official said.

The Council of the European Union adopted a regulatory framework that aims to reduce the likelihood of accidents tied to offshore oil and natural gas operations.

European leaders began reviewing offshore oil and natural gas safety issues following the Deepwater Horizon accident in 2010. An oil rig leased by British energy company BP caught fire and sank in the Gulf of Mexico, leading to the death of 11 rig workers and causing the worst accidental offshore oil spill in history.

British Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey said he welcomed the directive issued Monday on offshore oil and natural gas safety.

"The U.K. will look to use and build upon these new powers to ensure we have an offshore oil and gas regime that continues to be regarded by the industry as one of the best in the world," he said in a statement. "This directive will mean oil and gas producing countries across the EU will be held to the highest possible standards with minimum cost and disruption to businesses."

The EU said the new directive enters into force 20 days from Monday. It increases the protection of the maritime environment and coastal economies against pollution and sets up "minimum conditions for safe offshore exploration and exploitation."

Landlocked members of the EU are obligated to minimal requirements under the new provision.

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