The EU’s energy commissioner has diluted a proposal that deepwater oil drilling be temporarily banned. The UK had voiced strong opposition.
The move is a response to the Gulf of Mexico disaster. Yet ban objectors insist that European offshore drilling has a better track record than American exploitation.
Commissioner Günther Oettinger settled for recommending new Europe-wide precautionary standards. In backtracking, he said: “Do you think that one can simply turn off the machines on the oil platforms? Seeing our need for oil, that would be a mistake. And we wouldn’t cut down on global extraction. We would only increase our dependence on imports, which is already too high.”
The proposal includes considerations for drilling authorisation best practices by EU member states, as well as for safety monitoring. Separately, the European Parliament also rejected a regulatory moratorium on new drilling.