The Government is set to produce a review of environmental regulation of North Sea oil and gas rigs in January, since BP's disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.


Chris Huhne, Energy Secretary, said that Britain's safety and environmental regulatory regime was fit for purpose. However, investigations have highlighted some causes of the oil spill, meaning a wholesale review of environmental precautions early next year, and published in May.


Following the incident, the Department of Energy and Climate Change increased the number of health and safety officials, and doubled the yearly environmental inspections of the oil rigs. The oil and gas industry is developing plans to improve the response towards leaks through the Oil Spill Prevention and Response Advisory Group.


Criticism has come from Greenpeace who insist the reaction towards the incident is inadequate, and is suing the government at the High Court on environmental grounds to stop the authorisation of new deep water drilling in the North Sea.


Chevron, an American oil company has begun deep water drilling 160 miles north of Shetland. Greenpeace has disputed its most recent version of the company's spill response plan. Chevron has stated that due to "good swimming abilities", dolphins and whales will naturally avoid oil leaks.  Chevron also has a worst case scenario forecast that surpasses the BP incident with 77,000 barrels.


Date posted: 7.12.10