UK deepwater drilling moratorium ‘not necessary’

MPs have said deep sea drilling in the UK should not be suspended but have raised serious doubts about the UK's ability to deal with oil spill disasters.

The Energy and Climate Change Committee have released a report today (January 6) into the implications for the UK following the US Deepwater Horizon disaster.

It concluded that a moratorium would endanger the UK’s energy security and would cause drilling rigs and expertise to migrate to other parts of the globe.

While it found that the UK has high offshore regulatory standards, the Committee said it had serious doubts about the systems in place for dealing with oil spills, particularly in very deep wells.

It rejected calls for increased regulatory oversight by the EU but recommended that the Government works with the EU on clarification of clear up costs.

It recommended that a new directive be drawn up to ensure that oil companies are responsible for the costs and remediation of any environmental damage so that the cost does not fall to the taxpayer.

It also recommended that the Government ensures that any capping, containment and clean-up systems are designed to take full account of the harsh and challenging environment West of Shetland.

While Energy minister Charles Hendry said he welcomed the report and would consider its recommendations in detail, Greenpeace, condemned it.

Greenpeace executive director John Sauven said: “This report lists all the reasons why a ban on deep sea drilling makes sense and then ignores its own findings.

“The oil companies have no idea how they would deal with a major spill off the coast of the UK but apparently we’re supposed to trust them until they come up with an adequate plan.”

Alison Brown

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