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Council adopts directive on safety of offshore oil and gas operations

The Council of the European Union has adopted a directive on the safety of offshore oil and gas operations. The new regulatory framework aims at reducing the occurrence of major accidents related to offshore oil and gas operations and to limit their consequences.

It establishes minimum conditions for safe offshore exploration and exploitation and improves the response mechanisms in the event of an major accident.

The new law will apply to existing and future installations and operations. Offshore oil and gas operations will only be conducted by operators appointed by licensees or licensing authorities. The directive contains provisions ensuring the independence and objectivity of the competent authority.

To prevent conflicts of interest, member states are required to ensure a clear separation between regulatory functions relating to offshore safety and environment and regulatory functions relating to economic development, including licensing and revenues management.

In addition, the directive also provides rules for transparency and sharing of information, cooperation between member states, emergency response plans and transboundary emergency preparedness and response.

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