Macondo blowout prompts reviews outside US

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, May 26
-- The Macondo blowout and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is prompting groups in other countries to review offshore regulations and procedures.

Oil & Gas UK, an association of offshore producers, is creating an advisory group to anchor a review of oil spill and response practices of the UK offshore industry.

Mark McAllister, chief executive of Fairfield Energy Ltd., will chair the Oil Spill Prevention and Response Advisory Group (OSPRAG).

The group will support specialist teams reviewing technical issues to include first response for protection of personnel, spill response capability and remediation, national emergency response, indemnity and insurance requirements, and North Sea regulations and response mechanisms.

McAllister noted the absence of a blowout off the UK in the past 20 years and said spills tend to be small.

“It light of the recent Gulf of Mexico incident, it is only right that we have a fresh look at our practices in the UK for oil spill prevention and response,” he said.

Participating with Oil & Gas UK members will be representatives from the Health and Safety Executive, Department for Energy and Climate Change, Maritime and Coastguard Agency, and trade unions RMT and Unite.

OSPAG planned to hold its first meeting June 2 and to disband when “its work is completed.” It said it will “maintain appropriate links” with other industry groups, including the International Association of Oil & Gas Producers, American Petroleum Institute, and International Association of Drilling Contractors.

In Canada, the National Energy Board said it will review arctic drilling regulation in light of the gulf accident.

“We need to learn from what happened in the gulf,” said NEB Chair Gaetan Caron. “The information taken from this unfortunate situation will enhance our safety and environmental oversight.”

NEB said it would provide details of the review “when the focus in the Gulf of Mexico shifts from stopping the leak and protecting the environment to understanding what happened.”

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