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Jul 19, 2018: Deadline arrives for offshore oil drilling safety rules

EUROPEAN UNION - Oil companies operating in European waters must implement new EU safety rules on offshore drilling by the July date. In contrast, the United States is easing its offshore drilling controls.

The EU rules were adopted in the aftermath of the disastrous BP oil slick – also known as the Deepwater Horizon disaster – in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. The explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon rig killed 11 people and resulted in a marine oil spill generally described as the largest in history.

In Europe the Safety of Offshore Oil and Gas Operations Directive was adopted two years later, ushering in strict requirements aimed at preventing such a disaster occurring in European waters, and ensuring oil and gas companies were liable for any damage they might cause. Euractiv reports that EU countries were obliged to adopt the new rules into domestic law by 2015, but a three-year transition period means they will only apply fully in 2018.

In the United States, President Donald Trump has reversed drilling restrictions in nearly all U.S. coastal waters, and is pursuing a rollback of Obama-era regulations in the Gulf of Mexico that were put in place after the BP-Deepwater disaster.

#22577 Published: 04/05/2018

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