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Summit to spotlight work of UK oil spill prevention group

24 August 2011

The UK’s groundbreaking Oil Spill Prevention and Response Group (OSPRAG) will report on its activities at a one-day conference organised by industry body Oil & Gas UK in Aberdeen on 21 September 2011.

The OSPRAG Summit, sponsored by Apache North Sea Limited and supported by BP and Endeavour Energy UK, will be held at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC).

Speakers directly involved in the group’s activities over the past 14 months will provide an overview of the joint approach taken by the industry and its regulators to further improve the UK’s prevention of and response to a major well control incident. Feedback will also be given on the lessons learned from Exercise Sula conducted in May to test the UK’s national oil spill contingency plan.

OSPRAG's Chair, Jim House, will open the Summit which will be chaired by Malcolm Webb, Oil & Gas UK’s Chief Executive. The work of OSPRAG will be explored by a line-up of experts who were involved in the project.

Delegates will also hear from OSPRAG’s Indemnities and Insurance Review Group, which has assessed the robustness of the arrangements the UK has in place to cover the cost of cleaning up a sustained oil spill. Information will also be provided on the updated agreement between national oil and gas trade associations in Europe that enables them to call upon each other for support in emergency situations, regardless of national boundaries.

After a networking lunch, the focus will turn to SULA. Delegates will be given an evaluation of each element of the exercise and learn of the recommendations for industry and the national contingency plan.

Webb commented: “Since May 2010 following the incident in the Gulf of Mexico, OSPRAG has led the UK oil and gas industry's effort to ensure that its drilling practices and procedures are robust and remain fit for purpose. While the industry, regulators and trade unions are confident in the ability of current regulations and procedures to prevent major well control incidents, OSPRAG identified where improvements could still be made. This Summit will provide a final and authoritative report on OSPRAG’s work.

“The UK’s oil spill response strategy has been and still is suitable for dealing with relatively small spills that occur over a finite period of time. However, OSPRAG has produced enhancements to the UK’s capability to respond to low probability, high potential impact incidents, such as that caused by the loss of well control during drilling on Macondo. In this regard, Summit attendees will learn about the new oil spill response toolkit and the capping device developed to seal off an uncontrolled subsea well and so minimise environmental damage.”

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