Safety Of Onshore And Offshore Oil And Gas

Author:Ms Nicola Dunleavy, Patrick Sweetman and Michael O'Connor

Independent Irish regulator in new role

The Commission for Energy Regulation ("CER") now regulates the safety of offshore and onshore oil and gas activities under the Petroleum Safety Framework. The relevant legislation empowering the CER came into operation on 18 December 2013, completing the transfer of the safety role from the licensing authority, the Petroleum Affairs Division of the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources.

In line with international practice, the Petroleum Safety Framework is based on:

a permitting regime for designated petroleum activities - such activities cannot commence without the approval of an associated safety case by the CER a god-setting and risk-based approach - petroleum undertakings are required to reduce all safety risks to a level that is as low as is reasonably Practicable (ALARP) On 16 April 2014, the CER issued a safety permit under the new regime for well work.

The interaction between the Irish Petroleum Safety Framework 2013 and developments in European regulation

On 10 June 2013 a European Directive on the safety of offshore oil and gas operations was introduced, following the Deep Water Horizon disaster off the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

The EU Offshore Safety Directive applies to all activities associated with an offshore installation or connected infrastructure. Ireland has until 19 July 2015 to implement the EU Directive.

The aim of the EU Directive is to introduce consistent best practices in relation to major hazard control, to ensure that the person responsible is clearly identifiable and to improve response mechanisms in emergencies. The EU Directive imposes requirements on offshore oil and gas activities...

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