Chapter 12: Robust offshore risk regulation - an assessment of US, UK and Norwegian approaches
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This chapter is derived from a research project addressing the robustness of offshore risk regulation for oil and gas operations on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS). The project has involved evaluating and comparing three leading regulatory regimes and assessing their influence on the safety performance of offshore operators. The focus of this chapter is a comparative study of the Norwegian regulatory approach with the US and UK regimes, their modes of regulation and enforcement, and changes over time in response to major accidents.From the very beginning oil and gas operations on the NCS were dominated by US companies who brought their organizations, technology, industrial culture and practices with them. For more than 40 years, major US companies have been part of a continuous development of the NCS. The blowout at BP’s Deepwater Horizon well in 2010 with the deaths of 11 workers, injuries to 16 others, and the largest offshore spill in history has made the comparative analysis more urgent and relevant. The US is thus the second regime included in our comparative analysis. For different reasons the UK regime is the third regime for the comparative study. Since oil and gas exploration started in the North Sea in the mid-1960s there has been an ongoing interchange of information, experience and regulatory developments between UK and Norwegian regulators. The global oil and gas industry has many common features. Major operators, entrepreneurs and sub-contractors are operating with similar equipment and similar exploration, drilling and production procedures.

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