Shell urges US to adopt drilling rules

Royal Dutch Shell urged the US to adopt the tougher drilling rules applied in the North Sea, which it said could have helped prevent the mistakes that contributed to BP’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Shell chief financial officer Simon Henry said yesterday the US should forced everyone drilling a well to prepare a “safety case” – plans that examine all potential risks and defines who is responsible for all risk management tasks.

“What we would like to see is that the regulations, as they evolve, match more clearly the European approach, which is always to identify all the hazards,” he told Reuters Insider TV in an interview.

US lawmakers have criticised regulations on exploration in the Gulf of Mexico for not requiring oil companies to rigorously assess the risks of drilling. BP’s own investigation into the disaster said it was not clear whether BP staff or its drilling contractor were responsible for signing off on key safety tests for the rig, which exploded in April, causing the worst-ever oil spill in the US.

Shell prepares safety cases for all its wells all over the world because it represents best practice, Henry said.