EU calls for drilling moratorium

July 15, 2010 at 3:12 PM
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BRUSSELS, July 15 (UPI) -- The energy commissioner for the European Union has called for a moratorium on oil drilling in deep water in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico spill.

Guenther Oettinger met Wednesday in Brussels with 22 oil industry representatives, the EUobserver reported.

Commissioners responsible for shipping, the environment and disaster response also attended.

"I repeat my call for a moratorium on new plants," Oettinger said. "The drilling industry needs to do more. It is no longer enough for them to talk about the new practices and safety plans."

An explosion and fire on BP's Deepwater Horizon drilling platform April 20 set off a major environmental disaster. Millions of barrels of oil have leaked into the gulf while BP struggled to cap its out-of-control well.

Oettinger said one European country that is not an EU member has halted deepwater drilling.

"Norway did stop drilling, not the U.K.," he said. "What is good for Norway should be good for EU member states as well."

There are now 115 drilling platforms in European waters, mostly in the North Sea and the Atlantic.

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