EU offshore safety regulation – MEP welcomes joint union/industry paper


Scotland’s sole Member of the European Parliament’s Energy Committee Alyn Smith has today (Tuesday) warmly welcomed the production of a joint industry/trade union position paper outlining concerns over a proposed EU Regulation over offshore safety.

The position paper produced by Unite, the RMT and UK Oil and Gas outlines concerns that while the industry is committed to any safety improvements, the proposed Regulation could in fact have a seriously detrimental effect on offshore safety.

The ratings agency Fitch has previously calculated that the industry could see some additional GBP 8bn in costs for no safety benefit.

Mr Smith has been instrumental in working with all stakeholders in Scotland to achieve a Team Scotland approach to this proposal which while constructive remains engaged as the Parliament comes to work on these proposals.

He said:

“This is a hugely significant and helpful intervention from the workers and industry, and will be hugely helpful to me in Brussels in my work on these proposals.  This mirrors the approach taken by the sector in other countries and I am delighted that the Team Scotland approach is seeing such joined up working.

“The tone is significant too.  The paper is clearly in favour of any good ideas on safety – and post the Elgin incident none of us are complacent – but identifies a practical and evidenced based litany of real concerns that the proposed Regulation simply will not achieve the aims it has been set, and could well make things worse if implemented as drafted.  This is not a ‘we just don’t like regulation’ whine, this is a constructive addition to the debate on this matter.

“The North Sea basin has the highest standards in the world, those standards have been hard won and are close to the heart of anyone involved in the industry.  From my meetings with the European Commission I know there is every willingness to work with our industry and worker experts to make this better. 

“An EU standard based on North Sea practice which causes us no difficulties in implementation could indeed be a gold standard for the world, opening up additional markets for our industry, but in the present form it is simply not fit for purpose.”