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EU Offshore Safety Directive

Adding value to compliance

What is it and what does it mean in practice?

In response to the loss of life and environmental damage caused by the Macondo blowout in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, the European Commission issued Directive 2013/30/EU on the Safety of Offshore Oil and Gas Operations (the Directive) in June 2013.

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EU Offshore Safety Directive

The Directive has been designed to mitigate the risk of major offshore oil and gas incidents by requiring owners and operators to identify and manage major accident hazards and to put in place effective response strategies should an incident occur. It aims to implement best regulatory practices across all EU jurisdictions with the objective to strengthen EU’s preparedness and response for offshore emergencies.

The Directive requires national authorities to verify environmental protection measures and the emergency preparedness of rigs and platforms, in addition to improving and clarifying the EU liability and compensation provisions.

The new rules apply to owners, operators, licensees and competent authorities in the region, and cover all offshore operations and infrastructure, including fixed and floating assets. The requirements address all phases of the asset lifecycle, from concept design to abandonment and decommissioning.

DNV GL supports owners, operators, licensees and competent authorities in all areas impacted by the Directive.

Implementation of the Directive

  • Member states of the European Union were required to develop a national implementation framework for the Directive by July 2015
  • Owners and operators will need to comply with the requirements for new builds from 19 July 2016
  • Existing assets must be brought into line with the new regulations by 19 July 2018.

Installations outside the EU

While the Directive applies only to the EU, it does also state that it expects responsible operators and owners to conduct their operations worldwide according to best practices and standards. This includes requiring operators registered in the EU to submit reports on major accidents that occur in other territories.

What the regulations mean in practice

The new Directive requires owners and operators to prevent and mitigate the impact of major accident hazards through the implementation of a systematic and effective approach to risk management. In particular: 
  • Before exploration or production begins, companies must prepare major hazard reports for offshore installations. These must contain a risk assessment and an emergency response plan. 
  • Independent verification of technical solutions which are critical for the safety of operators’ installations must be conducted. This includes independent verification that the safety and environmentally critical elements (SECEs) identified in the risk assessment for the installations are suitable. This must be done prior to the installation being put into operation.
  • A schedule of examination and testing for SECEs must be implemented, including independent verification that this schedule is suitable, up-to-date and operating as intended.
  • National authorities must verify safety provisions, environmental protection measures, and the emergency preparedness of rigs and platforms.

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