• Professional News
  • 02 August 2013

Tightened offshore safety standards

New EU Directive is to reduce the risk of offshore oil and gas platform accidents. Operators as well as authorities must meet new requirements.

On 18 July 2013, a new EU Directive entered into force which is to reduce the risk of offshore accidents, such as oil and gas platforms catching fire or exploding, and other accidents causing loss of lives and damage to marine environment. Operators as well as national authorities must meet new requirements to comply with the Directive.  

EU Directive 2013/30/EU on safety of offshore oil and gas operations was adopted by the European Parliament and the Council and must be implemented into Danish law within a period of two years.

The Directive includes new and existing, manned and unmanned offshore platforms.

New standards for increased operator documentation
Offshore operators are directed to minimise the risk of accidents as much as practicably viable and must, as a result, document sufficient precautionary measures as well as emergency response programmes.

This includes submitting a number of documents to the competent national authority, including a so-called Major Hazard Report to be handed in before offshore operations may be commenced. The Report to be approved by the national authority must include, for example, a hazard assessment of the offshore platform, a review of safety rules and equipment and an account of the emergency response plan in the event of oil spill or emergency evacuation.

Separation of powers
EU Member States are directed to only issue exploration and operation permits to offshore operators capable of preventing and responding to accidents and with the financial muscles to pay contamination indemnity.

The Directive moreover imposes requirements on national authorities in terms of their institutional setup meaning that the competent national authority must be impartial. As a result, the national authority responsible for issuance of permits and the commercial development of raw materials is not eligible to administer safety clearances. 

In Denmark, both competences are currently vested in the Danish Energy Agency (Energistyrelsen) which is the supervisory authority of oil and gas production as well as offshore safety and health issues.

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