Britain doubles oil rig inspections after Gulf spill

8th June 2010, Comments 0 comments

Britain will double its inspections of North Sea oil rigs following the huge leak in the Gulf of Mexico, the government announced Tuesday.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) conducted an urgent review of the safety and regulatory regime governing the oil and gas industry in British waters, which found it was "fit for purpose", it said.

But Energy Secretary Chris Huhne announced Tuesday new measures aimed at strengthening it further.

British energy firm BP's Deepwater Horizon rig exploded on April 20, spilling crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

"What we are seeing will transform the regulation of deep water drilling worldwide," Huhne said. "It's my responsibility to make sure that the oil and gas industry maintains the highest practices here in UK waters.

He insisted that Britain's safety and environmental rule book is "fit for purpose," adding: "It is already among the most robust in the world and the industry's record in the North Sea is strong.

"But the Deepwater Horizon gives us pause for thought and... there is every reason to increase our vigilance.

"Initial steps are already under way, including plans to double the number of annual environmental inspections by DECC to drilling rigs and the launch of a new industry group to look at the UK's ability to prevent and respond to oil spills.

"In addition, I will review our new and existing procedures as soon as the detailed analysis of the factors which caused the incident in the Gulf of Mexico are available," he added.

© 2010 AFP

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