Offshore Directive - the safety of offshore oil and gas operations

Following the Deepwater Horizon incident in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010, the European Commission (EC) expressed its initial views on the safety of offshore oil and gas operations in its communication 'Facing the challenge of the safety of offshore oil and gas activities' (published on 13 October 2010). The EC communication concluded that the existing divergent and fragmented regulatory framework applying to the safety of offshore oil and gas operations in Europe, along with current industry safety practices, did not provide adequate assurance that risks from offshore accidents were minimised throughout the Union.

On the 28th June 2013, the EC published the Offshore Directive. The aim of this Directive was to reduce as far as possible the occurrence of major accidents related to offshore oil and gas operations and to limit their consequences.

HSE implemented the majority of the health and safety requirements in the Offshore Installations (Offshore Safety Directive) (Safety Case etc.) Regulations 2015 (OSDR). The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) also introduced new regulations to implement environmental and licensing requirements. 

The new regulations came into force on 19 July 2015. HSE has published L154 Guidance on the regulations to assist those with duties under OSDR

The Directive also required the creation of an offshore competent authority. In Great Britain the Offshore Major Accident Regulator (OMAR), which comprises of BEIS and HSE working in partnership has been established and further information is available on the OMAR website.

Updated 2022-05-31