Offshore drilling

Dear Editor,

To Direcção-Geral de Recursos Naturais, Segurança e Serviços Marítimos (DGRM) & Maritime Authority Directorate General

In relation to the Algarve Resident’s reporting of offshore drilling (Algarve/Aljezur), I would at this stage draw your attention to the following:

1. Directive 2013/30/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council on safety of offshore oil and gas operations states that the EU has put in place a set of rules to help prevent accidents, as well as respond promptly and efficiently should one occur. Before exploration or production begins, companies must prepare a Major Hazard Report for their offshore installation. This report must contain a risk assessment and an emergency response plan.

2. The Aarhus Convention establishes a number of rights of the public (individuals and their associations) with regard to the environment. Portugal, a party to the Convention, provides for the right of everyone to receive environmental information that is held by public authorities (“access to environmental information”). This can include information on the state of the environment, but also on policies or measures taken, or on the state of human health and safety where this can be affected by the state of the environment.

Portugal, either abide by EU regulations or face sanctions. But don’t cut and paste textbook oil spill response plans and think you can get away with it. Brussels is watching.

Charlie Frew MSc
By Email