The chief executive of the oil and gas regulator insisted yesterday it would be wrong not to be concerned about safety at such a transformational time for the industry.
Andy Samuel, who heads the Oil and Gas Authority, said the “human factors” particularly worried him as workers come under increasing pressure during the downturn.
He also called on operators to engage with their workforce as much as possible.
Mr Samuel was giving evidence on maximising the economic recovery to the energy and climate change committee at Westminster.
He told MPs: “I think it would be wrong to not be concerned.
“This is a time of great change. I’m always worried, particularly about the human factors.
“People offshore have to be distracted when they are worried about their jobs in the future.
“The more engagement operators can do, the better at times like this.”
He said the OGA was focused on a joined-up approach with both Oil and Gas UK and the Health and Safety Executive.
“A good safe business will absolutely help with maximising the recovery,” he added.
Mr Samuel, who has met with other regulators in recent weeks, also highlighted the interest in what the UK is doing in relation to the more mature basin aspects.
He said some were “frankly envious” of the “fresh policy that is fit for purpose”, cross-party political support and a Treasury willing to work closely with the industry.
He also said there was some support available from investors, adding: “There is a way forward but I would not underestimate how difficult it is.”
Mr Samuel told MPs he estimated operating costs would be down to 15 dollars a barrel by the end of the year.