New Years Starts with New Financial Rules on Oil and Gas Exploration

New financial oil and gas exploration rules took effect on the first day of the year in Great Britain. However, an environmental organization cautions that the rules will not do much to stop oil spills.

According to WWF Scotland, the conditions of insurance that are made to ensure that firms demonstrate financial responsibility for oil drilling will be insignificant to any wildlife caught up in an accident in the future. The Energy and Climate Change Department of the UK mandated a re-assesment of the rules in view of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

In December 2011, the results of the review were published with several recommendations related to insurance and liability.

John Hayes, the Energy Minister of the UK, recently announced the response of the government to the review, saying that it is important for the activities on oil and gas exploration and production to meet top standards of safety and environmental protection as much as possible.

Hayes said that he is confident that the responses of the industry and the givernment to the recommendations of the panel, together with continuous work, will make sure that the UK industry makes the necessary oil investments to meet the highest possible safety standards.

WWF Scotland’s Lang Banks said that even if it is only right for explorers of oil and gas to be obliged to obtain high insurance to pay for clean up and capping costs, the new regulations will not do much to stop oil spills. He added that platforms Elgin and Gannet Alpha, of Total and Shell, respectively, had insurance. And yet, accidents were still not prevented.

Banks said that any insurance level has no meaning to the numerous mammals, wildlife and marine birds that will be endangered and possibly killed by only one oil spill.