UK forms oil spill focus group

Oil & Gas UK is forming an advisory group to coordinate work on oil spill prevention and response practice in UK waters, ahead of the conclusion of investigations into the deepwater spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Offshore staff

ABERDEEN, UK -- Oil & Gas UK is forming an advisory group to coordinate work on oil spill prevention and response practice in UK waters, ahead of the conclusion of investigations into the deepwater spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

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

“The regulatory regime in the UK continental shelf requires companies to put in place robust checks to minimize the risk of oil spills,” he said.

“We have not had a blow-out in the last 20 years of operations and the oil spills we do have tend to be on a very small scale. However, we must always ensure we put the safety of our employees first and minimize any adverse environmental impacts of our operations, so in light of the recent Gulf of Mexico incident, it is only right that we take a fresh look at our practices in the UK for oil spill prevention and response.

“The review conducted under OSPRAG will be comprehensive and will help ensure that the arrangements in the UK continue to be fit for purpose.”

The committee will comprise individuals from all sectors of the industry, regulatory authorities and trade unions. Representatives from the UK’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC), Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), and the trade unions, RMT and Unite, have all agreed to participate.

Five specialist divisions will focus on:
• Technical issues, including first response for protection of personnel
• Oil spill response capability and remediation
• National emergency response measures
• Indemnity and insurance requirements
• Pan-North Sea regulations and response mechanisms.

OSPRAG also will maintain links with the International Association of Oil & Gas Producers, the American Petroleum Institute, the International Association of Drilling Contractors (IADC), and other international professional bodies.

06/01/2010

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