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IRF ? post conference press release

The first ever conference of the International Regulator's Forum for offshore oil and gas safety will close today. The conference, held over three days at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in London brought together safety regulators and industry representatives from across the world as a first step to creating global consistency in the offshore oil and gas industry.

Keynote speakers included Gale Norton, Secretary of the US Department of the Interior, Dagfinn Hoybraten, Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Norway, Malcolm Brinded of Shell, Tony Hayward of BP and Government officials from the UK and around the world.

The conference has been working to identify practical steps that can be taken to achieve improvements in offshore safety, and address international safety and regulatory issues.

The International Regulator's Forum committed:

  • to build a global network of regulators and industry bodies dedicated to the common cause of raising health, safety and environmental standards offshore;
  • to deliver, within a year, some real examples of common, global standards in areas of practical value to the industry worldwide, in areas such as lifting and performance measurement; and
  • to build on these achievements in the longer term by identifying - and delivering - other products essential to delivering this global partnership.

Taf Powell, Head of HSE's Offshore Division and Chair of the IRF Steering Committee said:

"This conference has exceeded expectations, both in terms of participation and outcomes. Work has begun to address joint approaches to safety problems, align safety and business drivers, understand the differences in regulatory regimes and standards and the impact that has on global businesses'.

'Most of all the conference demonstrates that best sustainable economic performance of the upstream oil and gas industry is inseperable from first class safety performance'."

The conference focused specifically on: the benefits of a strong safety culture; how collaboration can work in practice and achieve improvements in offshore safety and operational efficiency, identification of common safety issues, sharing performance information and building a community of global regulators to work together and support each other on common issues.


1 The conference was organised in Britain on behalf of the International Regulator's Forum (a group of oil and gas regulators from the UK, Norway, The Netherlands, USA, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand). This group is already sharing information and developing joined up approaches to common problems.

2 The conference has taken the first steps to develop a global network of regulators that can support each other to prevent incidents. Such a network will have a positive impact on the big global oilfield companies.

3 The major companies involved in offshore oil and gas development (oil companies, drilling rig owners and major contractors) are organising their businesses and budgets on a global basis rather than on a national basis. However the safety performance and of these major international companies varies from region to region. Governments have an interest in trying to remove the regional inconsistencies in performance because the cost of incidents, production shutdowns and drilling interruptions has an adverse impact on national economies.

4 In addition to the formal conference programme the conference has provided a unique opportunity to meet with Regulators from all over the world that share an interest in the safety and sustainability of the offshore oil and gas industry.