The European Parliament’s lead Committee reporting on the European Commission’s proposal for regulation on offshore drilling has given into intense lobbying from industry and voted for a major watering down of the proposal.

The European Parliament’s lead Committee reporting on the European Commission’s proposal for regulation on offshore drilling has given into intense lobbying from industry and voted for a major watering down of the proposal.

MEPs in the ITRE Committee of the European Parliament voted against the Commission Proposal for a Regulation, instead opting for a weaker legal instrument in the form of a Directive.

In September, the Parliament’s ENVI Committee - that has in part joint competency on the dossier - voted to support the use of a Regulation.

Having a Regulation in place would mean that obligations on Member States would be binding and immediate once entered into force. A Directive however would require states to transpose the obligations into national law which can take several years and would be less prescriptive - potentially leading to some Member States having strict requirements on drilling practices and others being more lenient.

The proposal for a Regulation however was considered to include the minimum set of requirements on Member States and much of the content of the regulation was supported by industry.

The opinion of both industry and the UK – being the leading Member State to oppose the use of a Regulation - has been that a Regulation will entail a drastic increase in administrative burden in contrast to a Directive, arguing that operations would become less safe as a result. No material evidence has been provided to support this assertion and a representative of the Commission recently remarked at a public debate that even the evidence provided to them by the UK does not support such a claim.

The Committee also left enforcement and non-compliance issues unresolved as they failed to support the call to set up an independent and EU-wide agency responsible for inspection. Again, this opinion contrasted with the report by the ENVI Committee that called for such responsibilities to fall under the responsibility of the European Maritime and Safety Agency.

There will now be a vote in the plenary of the European Parliament in December to finalise the position of the European Parliament.

 
 
 

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