OGUK 'concerned' by EU commissioner's call for drilling ban

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, July 15
-- An Oil & Gas UK executive said the group is “deeply concerned” by EU Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger’s call for a moratorium on new drilling in the UK North Sea based upon safety concerns raised by the runway deepwater Macondo well and Deepwater Horizon rig accident in the US.

OGUK Chief Executive Malcolm Webb said the organization believes Oettinger’s comments “seem to be pointing towards a wholly unjustifiable, knee-jerk reaction to the events in the Gulf of Mexico.” Industry has asked Oettinger for a clarification of his remarks to legislators last week.

Webb said, “The idea that the EU commission should be seeking to control the affairs of the UK Offshore Safety Division quite frankly concerns me. Furthermore, given that the cause of the incident in the US is still unclear, the rush to judgment and the suggestion of a moratorium on drilling in UK waters is, in my view, wholly unwarranted.”

The UK has competent regulators and a good track record on safety, Webb said. In addition, UK’s Oil Spill Prevention and Response Advisory Group thoroughly reviews industry procedures and practices, Webb said.

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