UK to review North Sea drilling after Gulf spill

City A.M. Reporter
The government has said it will review its regulations covering offshore oil and gas drilling in the North Sea following the publication of a US investigation into BP's Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

The review will start within a month and will report later this year, Energy Minister Charles Hendry said in a statement.

"We intend to review the UK's oil and gas offshore regulatory regime against the findings of the US investigations," he said.

"This review ... will be based on the full life cycle of an offshore development, thus ensuring all activities are covered," he added.

A White House panel probing BP's massive oil spill has already called for an overhaul of America's offshore drilling regulatory system, damning it as "entirely unprepared" for disaster.

Last week a parliamentary report warned Britain was not ready to tackle a spill of the kind suffered by BP and that if one did occur, taxpayers could end up paying the clean-up costs.

Hendry said his officials would study the White House oil commission's report to identify its implications for British deepwater drilling.

He said some of the report's recommendations were already existing practice in the North Sea but that Britain was committed to learning what it could from the findings.

"We have already acted, in the light of the emerging information from the many investigations into the disaster, to strengthen where we can what is already one of the most robust environmental and safety regimes in the world," he said.