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Lloyds List: Shell and BP get safety thumbs up

James Brewer, Lloyds List
Published: Sep 11, 2007

UNDERWRITERS have cast doubt over the validity of allegations that there have been serious flaws in the safety record of Shell and other North Sea operators.

They said that in a testing environment, Shell had proved to be ‘the best of the best’ operators.

Experts in Copenhagen for the IUMI annual conference were sceptical about concerns raised by, among others, the Washington-based campaign group Oil Change International over ageing equipment.

The UK Health and Safety Executive is said to have issued 42 notices to Shell and 25 to BP since 1999.

Frank Costa, vice-chairman of the IUMI energy and offshore committee, said that in striving to develop the fields and to protect life, the major companies had developed the best practices.

The North Sea was to have been closed as a production area by now, but because of technology, the life of fields had been prolonged.

‘The oil companies spend a lot of money offshore. It behoves them to put out a good product. Obviously [in the insurance market] there is risk selection, but generally speaking, the offshore sector is a very well managed, safety conscious environment.’

Mr Costa said that construction standards for platforms had improved since 1985, enabling them to withstand a category 3 hurricane.

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