The Environment Committee votes in favor of a European oil drilling moratorium

Oljeutslipp fra Macondobrønnen sett fra verdensrommet - i april 2010.

Publish date: September 28, 2010

On September 28th, the draft motion for a resolution on oil exploration and extraction calling for a moratorium on oil drilling was adopted by the European Parliament Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety. With 46 votes in favor, 8 against and 3 abstentions, it is expected to be adopted in plenary next week, ahead of the Energy Council that is due to address the topic in mid-October.

The non-legislative resolution jointly submitted by Parliament’s five largest political groups[1] aims at improving the EU capacity to prevent and respond to a disaster which could occur in European waters. As regards producers’ responsibility and liability, MEPs deemed appropriate a possible introduction of compulsory EU-wide insurance for offshore oil exploration and extraction.

In the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the article 11 of the draft resolution explicitly “urges the Commission and the Member States to introduce a moratorium on all deep sea oil drilling in EU waters” and to adopt an adequate response and prevention system.

MEPs called on the EU to give special attention to the Arctic zone, considering “its fragility and importance in mitigating climate change”. An immediate Arctic moratorium was demanded by Bellona when speaking to the European Parliament in September.

Bellona welcomes the decision of the Committee and now waits for the existing legislation on liability and security to be updated and completed. “This draft resolution sends a strong message also to non-EU countries such as Norway that the potential consumers in Europe do not want oil or gas produced irresponsibly,” said Eivind Hoff from Bellona Europa.

The full Parliament is expected to adopt the resolution on the 6th or 7th of October.

You can read the motion for a resolution and the amendments.


[1] The MEPs Bogusław Sonik (EPP), Linda McAvan (S&D), Corinne Lepage (ALDE), Bart Staes (Greens) and Struan Stevenson (ECR) drafted the resolution.

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