North Sea at risk from oil industry

June 9, 2010 at 8:54 AM
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BRUSSELS, June 9 (UPI) -- A disaster like the Deepwater Horizon in European waters would be devastating for the North Sea, a non-governmental organization warns.

Oil and natural gas has gushed into the Gulf of Mexico since April 20 when the BP-operated Deepwater Horizon oil platform caught fire and sank. Oil from the accident has reached sensitive marshlands in the U.S. south.

European NGO Food & Water Europe and its U.S. counterpart Food & Water Watch warned in their latest report that the BP accident is a "cautionary tale for Europe."

The NGOs warn that an accident like BP's in the North Atlantic could spell disaster for the North Sea.

"Some basic standards are needed on how oil companies are operated and there needs to be platform safety requirements regarding building, operating and maintaining the platform as well as dealing with a potential problem," said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch

The British Department of Energy and Climate Change announced Tuesday it would double annual inspections of drilling rigs and establish a new group to examine the ability to respond to spills in the North Sea.

"What we are seeing will transform the regulation of deep-water drilling worldwide," said British Energy Secretary Chris Huhne.

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