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The European Commission has reacted to the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010 through a thorough analysis of existing standards adopted throughout the European Union. So, in the 2nd half of 2010, the "Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the safety of offshore prospection, exploration and production in the hydrocarbon sector" (Proposal) was issued; it will be almost certainly adopted during the first half of 2013 in the form of Directive. The field of application of the Proposal covers the territory of all the Member States and also assumes relevance for the European Economic Area (EEA) and the Energy Community. The adoption of the Proposal will have important implications in all EU Countries: separation between the Competent Authority and the Licensing Authority (in charge of issuing permits and licenses); issuing by the operators of a "Major Hazard Report" (MHR); attraction of competences in the energy market and security of environment by the EU Commission; separation from other activities of the offshore industry; unique system of strict liability. Dealing with safety, it should be noted another legal instrument is the Offshore Protocol, included in the Barcelona Convention and recently entered into force, that pays particular attention to pollution and environmental safeguards. In order to implement an European process of harmonization of technical standards, moreover it has been recently constituted an expert group, named "EU Offshore Oil & Gas Authorities Group", with the aim to provide advice and support to the European Commission on all technical matters pertaining to the offshore topics of oil and gas sector, both safety and environmental.
On 28 June 2013, Directive 2013/30/EU1 was published in the EU Official Journal. The aim of the Directive is to establish minimum requirements for preventing major accidents in offshore hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation and limiting the consequences of such accidents thus increasing the protection of the marine environment and coastal economies.“Member States shall bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with Directive by 19 July 2015” (the Directive, Art. 41).The Directorate-General for Mineral and Energy Resources (DGRME) of the Italian Ministry of Economic Development is playing a key role in the steps towards the transposition of the Directive in Italy. The DGRME coordinated the Technical Working Group (TWG) for the transposition of the Directive, in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, Land and Sea. The TWG allowed broad participation of all national administrations concerned with the sector. In June 2014, the TWG produced a draft Legislative Decree, generally agreed by the administrations and the stakeholders, which will be the basis for the future implementation measure. In addition, DGRME officials assisted the Commission in drafting Implementing Act No.1112/2014 taking part both in EUAOG and Advisory Committee meetings. The Implementing Act (IA) does not need transposition, the Directive specifically requires the IA for ensuring uniformity among Member States in transparency and information sharing on major hazards among stakeholders. The IA is considered strategic for monitoring the effectiveness of measures to prevent major accidents and to "strengthen public confidence in the authority and integrity" of the offshore operations. The paper presents the path for the implementation of the Directive, a summary of the work of the TWG and the main points of the IA related to the Directive.
The European Union has launched a new Directive on Safety of offshore oil and gas operations (2013/30/EU). It is acknowledged by the EU that the existing regulatory framework is “divergent and fragmented” and practices do not provide a fully adequate assurance that the risk of offshore accidents is minimized. The objective is to reduce the occurrence of major accidents related to oil and gas operations and to limit their consequences. As well as safety there is a heightened Environmental dimension to the directive. It will apply to future offshore oil and gas installations and operations but also to existing installations. It provides for far reaching implications given that EU headquartered operators will need to conduct operations both within and beyond offshore waters of Member States in accordance with their Major Accident Prevention Policy (MAPP). Additionally companies registered in EU countries will need to report on accidents on their installations even if accidents happen outside EU waters. This is in addition to it being mandatory in European Waters. The new directive will be similar to the North Sea regime where amongst other things independent verification is required and this will cover both Safety & Environmentally Critical Elements.
This paper will explain the detail behind the new directive and what it will mean for developers and operators in Mediterranean waters.
Abstract The legal framework in Europe evolves continuously. Regulations are implemented at national level, but the Europe Commission greatly influences the policy, especially onshore. Offshore, regional conventions, such as OSPAR for the North-East Atlantic still play a leading role. There is not a single measure which can claim to have dramatically changed the way environmental issues are now regulated in Europe. But the sum of recent measures has substantially modified the still dispersed regulatory framework. And there is no doubt that this ground swell will continue to act in the near future:the Europe Commission already greatly influences most of the onshore policy. Offshore, regional conventions, in particular OSPAR, still play a leading role, but probably for a limited time. The industry has to adapt to that changes which do not relate any more solely to end-of-pipe constraints and techniques, but require a dramatic change in the approach of these issues, to identify and anticipate as early as possible the new technical challenges. Introduction The legal framework in Europe is complex and evolves con-tinuously. Not only two different approaches to national regulatory regimes co-exist (the Common Law and the Civil Law regimes), but measures nowadays are deeply influenced by international treaties, some of which are legally binding, such as the European Union Treaty or the Convention for the protection of the North-East Atlantic, best known as OSPAR. Moreover, recent issues showed that compliance with the "hard law" may not be sufficient: pressure groups sometimes challenge it and even succeed to impose their view: the consequence of it is the development of a "soft law" (constraints to which the community expects industry will comply on a voluntary basis) in addition to the "hard law". European production of oil and gas is split over its land as well as over its maritime area. But most of it comes from the North Sea, where almost half a billion tonnes of oil equi-valent (toeq) are produced every year (over 3 billion bbl). Europe has other key maritime areas: the Mediterranean Sea, the Baltic Sea, the Black Sea, and last but not least, the Barent Sea. They all have a tremendous ecological value for the millions on inhabitants around their borders, and most of them are a major source of fish stock for European countries. There are all sensitive: the list of "special areas" of Regulation 10 of Annex 1 of Marpol 73/78, the Convention for the prevention of pollution from ships (1) includes the whole North-West European waters, the Baltic Sea, the Mediterra-nean Sea, and the Black Sea. More recently, the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of the Interna-tional Maritime Organisation (IMO) designated Western European Waters (2004) as a Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA) (the Wadden Sea was already designated a PSSA in 2002), and approved the principle to add the Baltic Sea (except Russian waters) to the list of PSSA, subject to further investigation. How is the E&P industry regulated in Europe? At the SPE Annual Technical Conference & Exhibition which took place in San Antonio in 2002, we presented the Environ-mental regulatory framework in the North Sea with a special focus on OSPAR, its organization, its functioning and its measures taken between 1998 and 2001 (SPE paper 77390) (2). Here the purpose is to extend the view of the regulatory framework on Europe, and to update the information presented in 2002. With regard to Environment, the EU plays by far the major role onshore, while regional conventions specially dedicated to the protection of the maritime area take the leading role offshore, so far. Some European States are not members of the EU: e.g. Norway, Iceland, and Switzerland. Nevertheless most of them signed treaties with the EU which bind their regulations to the EU's: for example, the Agreement on the European Economic Area (EEA) extends the Single Market legislation, with the exception of Agriculture and Fisheries, to Iceland and Norway. Through the EEA Agree-ment (and its "Enlargement Agreement" which entered into force on 1 May 2004) Norway and Iceland participate in a large number of EU programmes covering most EU policy areas, including enterprise, environment, education and research programmes.
Directive 2008/56/EC establishes a framework for community action in the field of marine environmental policy in the European Union (EU): the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, in short MSFD. Its aim is to achieve good environmental status of the EU's marine waters by 2020. MSFD will have dramatic consequences not only on produced water legislation but also in other areas such as underwater noise, a source of energy regulators consider as polluting. As a first step in the process of implementing the Directive, the European Union has designed descriptors of the good environmental status of the seas bordering the EU. Strong discussions have already taken place in which industry had to lobby to ensure that a fair treatment is made, not at least regarding descriptor n 11 (introduction of energy in the water). Another facet of the MSFD is that it heavily relies on regional conventions: OSPAR in the North Sea, HELCOM in the Baltic and the Barcelona Convention in the Mediterranean Sea. These conventions are all struggling at developing the framework and the tools required by the MSFD. The paper develops what is at stake and the foreseeable consequences for the E&P industry. It explains the process in place to implement the provisions of the MSFD, and the role of the stakeholders in this process including the prominent one that the national and global E&P industry organisations play.