UK Deepwater Drilling

UK Deepwater Drilling

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On 20 April 2010, a blowout of BP's Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico led to the deaths of 11 workers on Transocean's Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, and the release of an estimated 4.9 million barrels of oil. The European Commission called for a moratorium but the UK government decided its regulatory controls were fit for purpose. However a full review of the oil and gas environmental regulatory regime would be undertaken. The Committee believes that the UK has high regulatory standards - as exemplified by the Safety Case regime that was set up in response to the 1988 Piper Alpha tragedy in 1988. The blowout in the Gulf of Mexico could have been prevented if the last-line of defence - the blind shear ram on the blowout preventer had activated and crushed the drill pipe. Given the importance of this equipment the committee recommends prescribing specifically that blowout preventers should have two blind shear rams and that simple, potential failures mustn't be left unchecked. The Committee also recommends that the Bly report conclusions, BP's internal investigation, be considered alongside observations of other companies involved. They believe that should an oil spill resulting from drilling activities occur in the UK there needs to be an absolute clarity as to the identity of the responsible party, and that liability legislation needs to ensure prompt compensation. They conclude that any calls for increased oversight of the UK offshore industry should be rejected in favour of multilateral approaches to regulation and oil spill responseSo Ia#39;m glad Parliament is looking into these problems and I hope you will propose some practical solutions soon. A good place to start would be Europe-wide laws on adequate compensation for spills from rigs, platforms and production ships.

Title:UK Deepwater Drilling
Author: Great Britain. Parliament. House of Commons. Energy and Climate Change Committee
Publisher:The Stationery Office - 2011-01-01

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