Offshore HES in EU

The deadline for European countries to implement the EU directive (2013/30) on offshore health, environment and safety is rapidly approaching, the implementation is due in mid 2015. We have at least observed UK authorities’ efforts to make the required revisions of the regulations, and to define requirements for the industry’s implementation of the new regime.

The new regime is expected to boost the management of major hazard risk in all relevant EU countries with offshore petroleum activity, not only those that have had limited regulations until now. One of the new developments is a common incident and accident reporting scheme within EU.

Norway has since the directive was approved in 2013 defined itself outside the scope of this directive, and Norway is not implementing any changes to adopt the principles of the EU directive. This is a political decision by two different governments, and should be quite robust, but perhaps not correpondingly wise.

Whether it would have been wise to adopt some of principles of the directive on a voluntary basis, is another discussion, which has not been addressed at all by Norwegian political fora nor authorities. We actually consider that such a debate should have been taken. There are some aspects of the new directive, which according to our research is likely to be valuable for improved major hazard risk management compared to requirements in the Norwegian regulations, especially the documentation that risks have been reduced to a level which is as low as reasonably practicable. This was also discussed in the “Engen-report”.

Norwegian politicians have repeatedly stated that Norway’s aspiration is to be world leader in offshore HES. The boost that EU countries get through implementation of the EU directive may threaten the possibility for Norway to be a world leader.

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