UK follows US lead in offshore inspections

Britain plans to increase the number of offshore inspections undertaken each year on UK installations from the previous norm of 60 up to150.

Offshore staff

LONDON -- Britain plans to increase the number of offshore inspections undertaken each year on UK installations from the previous norm of 60 up to150.

More specialist staff will be recruited to ensure annual environmental inspections of all manned fixed installations and around 24 drilling rigs per year, as a minimum.

This should also allow two inspectors rather than one to oversee installations in deepwater and more complex projects. The requirement for dual inspections was one of the recommendations issued by US Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar in September following last year’s Macondo incident in US Gulf of Mexico.

UK Energy Secretary Chris Huhne said: “The UK’s safety and environmental regime is one of the most robust in the world. But we are not complacent and more environmental inspections should provide further assurance that Government and industry are alert and working hard to ensure that a spill like Macondo doesn’t happen in UK waters.

“We will be publishing a full review into the UK’s regime once we have fully examined the findings of the US Presidential Commission reports and detailed analysis of the factors which caused the Macondo spill.”

The Department of Environment and Climate Change (DECC) will take on 15 new members of staff, the costs of which will be recovered via fees charged to the industry.

DECC’s environmental inspections are in addition to safety inspections performed by Britain’s Health and Safety Executive.

01/11/2011

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