EU serious about offshore drilling safety

July 17, 2013 at 8:40 AM

WASHINGTON, July 17 (UPI) -- Oil and natural gas companies are called on to do more to ensure their offshore operations are safe, the EU energy commissioner said from Washington.

European Commissioner for Energy Guenther Oettinger arrived Tuesday in Washington to discuss global energy issues with his U.S. counterparts. His visit comes as regulators from the European Union consider new safety standards for offshore drilling.

Offshore drilling came under scrutiny following the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The collapse of the offshore Deepwater Horizon drilling rig killed 11 workers and resulted in one of the worst oil spills in the history of the industry.

Oettinger said he was scheduled to meet with industry leaders Thursday in Houston to review lessons learned from the 2010 incident. He said he already had safety assurances from U.S. regulators and it was time for the industry to follow suit.

"National regulators will exercise additional vigilance over oil and gas companies to ensure they accelerate the advances in technology and human understanding achieved since [2010]," he said Tuesday. "We call upon oil and gas companies and drilling contractors operating in EU waters to respond to the challenge to their leadership in global safety and environmental protection."

Oettinger said he shared a common vision with his U.S. counterparts on the need to ensure future energy security.

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