November 17, 2011 / 3:09 PM / 9 years ago

Total slams EU plans to regulate offshore drilling

LONDON, Nov 17 (Reuters) - Oil major Total slammed European Union plans to regulate offshore oil and gas across the bloc, calling for best-practice UK standards to be imposed across the region instead.

“We think that regulation is not the appropriate format,” Total’s senior vice president for Northern Europe Patrice de Vivies said at a conference on Thursday.

“The standards should be handled by competent people and not by bureaucrats in Brussels so we have to be very careful with this proposed regulation.”

Drilling for oil and gas in the North Sea and elsewhere in Europe has to date been regulated by national bodies.

But in October the EU proposed that it set rules and appoint inspectors to cover the 27-member bloc in what it said would help avoid a repeat of BP’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Executives at other oil companies have also said they fear that the imposition of EU regulation will increase costs and complexity. The UK industry’s lobbying body has opposed the measure.

“In the UK the standards are the best in the world. In Norway it’s very close. We have to be very careful to take the best but not to introduce bureaucracy into the process,” de Vivies said.

“We think that the UK standards should be used by other countries.”

The UK government has declined to state its position on whether the EU should regulate North Sea safety but has previously resisted EU attempts to do so.

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