North Sea Drilling Rig

UK Report Sees No Need for North Sea Oil Drilling Ban

Thursday, Jan 06, 2011

After reviewing the catastrophic accident nine months ago at one of BP’s oilfields off the southern U.S. coast, members of a parliamentary committee conceded a major oil spill in the North Sea would be even more difficult to handle. However, they added in a report that a North Sea oil spill is less likely to occur because Britain has tougher oil-exploration safety standards than the United States.

The report being published Thursday by Parliament’s Energy and Climate Change Committee concludes that a North Sea oil-drilling ban is not necessary.

The lawmakers say a North Sea oil-drilling ban would leave Britain too reliant on imported energy, and also would lead energy companies to relocate their drilling rigs to other parts of the world.

The British report did note that a North Sea oil-well accident would pose serious difficulties, because of the remote location of most new oilfields. In case of an uncontrolled oil spill, the report said there are only a limited number of oil rigs that could be deployed to take emergency measures such as drilling relief wells.

Britain estimates its North Sea waters still have about 20 billion barrels of oil waiting to be discovered and extracted. Current British production is over 1.3 million barrels a day.

Britain tightened its regulation of North Sea drilling after the country’s worst offshore accident, a 1988 explosion that killed 167 workers. The Gulf of Mexico explosion killed 11 oil workers.

Source: YourOilandGasNews.com

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