Europe Should Freeze Deep Water Drilling

A top member of the European Commission has said that European countries should freeze new deep water drilling until the causes behind the Gulf of Mexico oil spill are investigated.

EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said in prepared remarks he was to deliver to the European Parliament in Strasbourg that there should be a complete moratorium on new drilling permits until the causes of the accident are known and corrective measures are taken for similar operations.

“Utmost caution must be exercised for the moment with respect to new drillings,” Oettinger said. “As said, given the current circumstances, any responsible Government would at present practically freeze new permits for drilling with extreme parameters and conditions.”

“Governments need to make sure that the industry launches all possible measures to further improve safety and enhance disaster prevention levels to meet the highest possible standards also in extreme climatic or geophysical conditions,” Oettinger continued. “While specific measures linked to technologies used may meaningfully come only after the causes of the current accident have been fully investigated, immediate and precautionary steps towards reinforcing the level of prevention and preparedness can and must be taken already now.”

“Emergency plans must be reviewed and strengthened on the basis of best practice. Authorization procedures must require demonstrations of the capacity of the operator to deal with critical events in the particular conditions of the given operation.”

Oettinger opened his remarks by stating that he had met in May with representatives of major companies with offshore oil production activities in Europe and had asked them to answer a questionnaire scrutinizing their safety policies. Oettinger is set to meet again with the representatives this coming week.

Source: European Commission

Image Source: US Coast Guard

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