Petroleum Safety - PEES Act and the Offshore Safety Directive

The Petroleum (Exploration and Extraction) Safety Act 2010 (No. 4 of 2010) was enacted on the 3rd April 2010. The act made the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) the safety regulator for upstream (offshore and onshore) petroleum exploration and extraction activities in Ireland, and required the establishment of a risk based Petroleum Safety Framework.

In 2015, the Offshore Safety Directive 2013/30/EU was transposed into Irish Law by the PEES act No. 26 of 2015, which is the European Union response to minimise the risk of offshore accidents throughout the Union, prompted by the Deepwater Horizon incident in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010.  The Offshore Safety Directive aims to ensure a consistent implementation of best regulatory practices in all European jurisdictions with offshore oil and gas activities and to strengthen the Union's preparedness and response capacity to deal with an emergency that would potentially affect Union citizens, or the environment.  The Directive extends the scope of the Petroleum Safety Framework to cover the risks and potential consequences of major accidents including environmental incidents.

A copy of the Act can be found here.

Petroleum Safety Framework

petroleum safety framework

The objective of the Petroleum Safety Framework is to develop a risk-based framework for decisions on proposed and existing major hazard pipelines and related infrastructure; where petroleum undertakings / operators and owners are obliged to reduce risks to a level that is ‘As Low As Reasonably Practicable’ (ALARP).  The most significant change associated with the 2015 update include:

1) Definition of Major Accident Hazard (MAH) to include Major Offshore Environmental Incidents (MEI) which has subsequent impact on:

  • Offshore Environmental ALARP demonstration;
  • Development of an Oil Spill Contingency Plan (to be included in the Internal Emergency Response Plan) as approved by the Irish Coast Guard (IRCG);
  • Safety and Environmental Management System requirements;
  • Identification of Safety and  Environmentally Critical Elements S(E)CEs and documentation of associated performance standards.

2) Detailed reporting requirements under the Petroleum Incident Regulations as covered by published CER ‘Guidance for Notification of Petroleum Incidents’.

The industry is regulated in accordance with the Petroleum Safety Framework; a collection of regulations, written regulatory documents and procedures. Further details on the individual components of the Petroleum Safety Framework and the relevant published papers are accessible via CER PSF.

Lawlor Technology Ltd., work with petroleum undertakings, operators and owners across the complete lifecycle of a project from engineering design to development and submission of Safety Case(s) to the regulator for assessment, as part of the permissioning process to obtain a Safety Permit.

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Lackaghmore, Athenry,
Co Galway, Ireland