UK North Sea operators now face tougher insurance conditions as part of a wider tightening of rules designed to ensure that oil and gas explorers and producers are practically and financially equipped to deal with major spills.
Nigerian farmers are suing Shell in a Dutch court, asking judges to order the oil giant to clean up environmental damage they claim is caused by leaking pipes. The case is a legal landmark in the Netherlands because it is the first time a Dutch group has been sued for alleged environmental mismanagement caused by an overseas subsidiary.
Europe wants to change compensation rules to make offshore companies liable for environmental damage they cause at sea.
Lawyers say thousands of Nigerian farmers and fishermen are taking legal action in the UK in an attempt to win compen-sation for environmental damage caused by oil spills.
FORMER energy minister Lord Fraser told leaders in the oil and gas sector yesterday that safety could not be compromised if they wanted to avoid a devastating event, such as the Deepwater Horizon rig disaster, happening in the North Sea.
Transocean, owner of the destroyed semi-submersible drilling unit, Deepwater Horizon, had safety problems on at least three out of 14 or so other rigs working in the Gulf of Mexico, according to reportage in The New York Times.
Oil giant BP says it is "absolutely responsible" for cleaning up the huge oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, amid growing pressure from the US Government.
Leading Scottish entrepreneur Sir Ian Wood said last night that there would be less damage to the environment if large oil and gas steel platforms being taken out of use were left in the North Sea to become reefs.