Despite the environmental setbacks and the loss of human life experienced as a result of the Deepwater Horizon explosion and spill, deepwater drilling shows no signs of abating any time soon. However, increased regulatory scrutiny is likely to be the norm going forward.
While oil and gas companies are demonstrating the same zeal for deepwater drilling as before the Deepwater Horizon tragedy, they will need to further quantify the risks and this is good news for EHS managers seeking jobs in the industry.
A growing EHS presence within the oil and gas industry is leading to an increased need for risk and safety professionals. Specifically, greater supervision must occur in offshore oil and natural gas drilling sites in order to prevent environmental and safety incidents. In October 2011, the EU recognized that the likelihood of a major offshore accident in European waters remains unacceptably high and there has been a call to create effective emergency response plans for the oil and gas industry. In turn, the European Commission has proposed a new law which will ensure that European offshore oil and gas production will respect the world’s highest safety, health and environmental standards everywhere in the EU.
“Today, most oil and gas in Europe is produced offshore, often in harsh geographical and geological conditions,” said EU Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger. “Given our growing energy demand, we will need all the oil and gas from beneath our seas. But we need to prevent accidents like Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico from happening. Securing best industry practices in all our offshore operations is an undisputable must.”
Today, over 90 percent of oil and over 60 percent of gas produced in the EU and Norway comes from offshore operations, and there are more than 1,000 offshore oil or gas installations in operation in European waters. Because of this, job opportunities for EHS managers are multiplying in the North Sea region, where the majority of the oil coming from the U.K. and Norway is produced.