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UK’s global oil spill response capability

11 October 2010

The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, the Rt Hon Chris Huhne visited the Southampton Base of international industry leader in oil spill preparedness and response - Oil Spill Response.

Extent of UK’s global oil spill response capability
Extent of UK’s global oil spill response capability

He witnessed first-hand the extent of the company’s expertise and unparalleled global oil spill response capability now enhanced by the arrival of two subsea containment devices which BP has transferred to the UK from the Gulf of Mexico.

Huhne, who is responsible for the environmental regulation of the off-shore oil industry, said: "I wanted to see for myself the readiness of our preparation for any environmental accident as I am determined that our regulatory regime should be the best in the world to prevent spills and to deal with them if they happen.

"Earlier this week, I visited an exploration rig off the west coast of Shetland and met with our Aberdeen-based inspectors to send out the clear message that our regulation, already the most demanding in the world, is applying the lessons of the BP incident in the Gulf of Mexico. We are determined to minimise the risks of any environmental damage.

"On prevention, we have increased the number of inspectors and doubled the number of inspections. On dealing with spills, I was impressed by the planned approach taken by Oil Spill Response and by its role in dealing with spills across the globe not just in UK waters. This is a highly professional organisation."

Commenting on the arrival of the two subsea containment devices transferred by BP from the Gulf of Mexico, Archie Smith, Chief Executive of Oil Spill Response said: "We are pleased to take responsibility for these important containment devices on behalf of the oil industry globally. This fits both with our philosophy of preparedness and industry’s commitment to ensure safe and effective oil exploration and production.

"Oil Spill Response has a high reputation around the world for rapid and effective response and as custodians of these containment devices we will be able to enhance the use of our expertise. Permanently on standby, we hold in readiness the largest international stockpile of equipment in three different continents, maintained to the highest state of readiness and supported by our own aircraft as well as international logistics companies ready to deliver the right equipment at any time anywhere. These devices will form an important addition to our existing stockpiles."

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