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.

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