§ Mr. Sproat
asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether he is satisfied with the present safety provisions in case of industrial accidents on North Sea oil installations; what new powers of supervision he proposes; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. John Smith
All licensees operating on the United Kingdom Continental Shelf are required, under conditions attached to their exploration or production licences, to conduct all their operations in a workmanlike manner in accordance with good oilfield practice and to comply with instructions issued by the Department for securing the safety, health and welfare of persons employed in those operations.
A comprehensive code of regulations is being introduced under the Mineral Workings (Offshore Installations) Act 1971 covering the safety, health and welfare of such persons, the safety of the installations and operations carried out on or near them. The conduct of day-to-day operations and the health and safety of persons engaged in those operations are to be covered by regulations currently being drafted and all United Kingdom operators are working to the standards set out in the draft.
The conditions of the licences and the provisions of the regulations are enforced 697W by inspectors of the Petroleum Engineering Directorate of the Department who visit such installations regularly during the course of the year. They make inquiries into incidents that are reported, so as to see that the rules are being observed and consider improvements in the regulations or the procedures adopted to carry them out. But offshore oil exploration and production is being conducted in a hazardous environment and under conditions which have stretched technology to its known limits. It is worth recalling that we are the first country undertaking operations in
(Million tons) Undistributed stock Date Total (1) Anthracite (2) Suitable for power stations Stocks held at power stations 17th May 1975 … … 5.4 1.8 2.2 14.8 23rd November 1974 … 5.2 2.5 1.8 13.6 25th May 1974 … … 6.9 3.3 2.6 9.9 (1) Total NCB stocks excluding inferior coal, wagon and bunker stocks. (2) Includes anthracite duff