The UK government has published a report on improvements made to the safety regime in the North Sea offshore sector since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Professor Geoffrey Maitland, from Imperial College, was appointed to lead a study into lessons that the UK industry should learn from the Gulf of Mexico incident in 2010.
He produced a report and a series of recommendations in December last year, and UK ministers published their official response yesterday.
It acknowledged that the industry had developed guidance to ensure critical safety equipment remains in good repair, and agreed that a forum set up to share best practice should remain in place permanently.
The government also said that it had advised North Sea licensees on how to demonstrate that they have the financial capability to respond to a major incident, before consent is given to drill exploration and appraisal wells.
In addition, the response yesterday highlighted more stringent requirements for operators to carry out offshore oil and gas emergency response exercises.
Energy Minister John Hayes said: “It is vital that our oil and gas activities meet the highest possible standards of safety and environmental protection.
“I am confident that the government and industry responses to the independent panel’s recommendations, alongside other ongoing work, will ensure that the UK’s offshore oil and gas industry builds upon its existing high standards.”
Professor Maitland said: “As chairman of the review I am very pleased to see the substantial progress made on so many of the recommendations and that others continue to be worked on with time-frames for delivery in place.
“This positive progress demonstrates industry and the regulators’ commitment to continuous improvement, that puts safety and environmental protection at the heart of the industry.”
Malcolm Webb, chief executive of industry body Oil and Gas UK, said: “The Maitland Review and ensuing report have proved to be a valuable exercise, not only in underlining the overall robustness of the UK offshore regulatory regime but also in highlighting where further improvements were possible. The majority of these have now been implemented.”