For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

Gabriella Zanzanaini, +32488409662, gzanzanaini(at)

Commission Support for Moratorium Nowhere to be Seen Despite BP Admissions

BRUSSELS - Food & Water Europe today renewed calls for a moratorium on
deepwater oil drilling in Europe after BP admitted the oil industry is
not ready to deal with a subsea explosion in deep water.

In his testimony at the UK House of Commons’ Energy and Climate
Change Committee yesterday, BP’s CEO Tony Hayward admitted that the
reason the industry had not prepared for such an event was that, “The
risk was seen as being zero.”

Since no risk was presumed, no money has been invested into
developing technology or detailed plans for capping a well should such
an explosion occur. BP’s own internal documents stated that, “The oil
spill consequences of a catastrophic failure of a deep sub-sea well
head, either due to equipment failure or accidental damage, have never
been considered in detail.” [1]

Now, the same excuse is being given for operations in the North Sea.
Since the conditions are slightly different, oil companies are saying
that the risk of the same thing happening are near impossible. “BP
claims to have no High Pressure/ High Temperature (HP/HT) wells in deep
water in the North Sea, but they are not the only operators, “ warns
Gabriella Zanzanaini, Director of European Affairs for Food & Water
Europe. Other oil companies are also beginning exploration west of the
Shetland Islands, which do include HP/HT wells. “The Commission should
take the fact that the entire industry is not yet capable of dealing
with a subsea explosion seriously and push the Member States to enforce a
moratorium on deepwater drilling now.”

“Saying that they have a good safety record is not enough,” says
Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director of Food & Water Watch. “The
simple fact is that they do not have the capping mechanisms in place and
should not be allowed to drill without detailed emergency contingency

After meeting with oil companies in July, the European Commissioner
for Energy stated that he fully believed a moratorium on all new
drilling permits was necessary and that a coordinated European effort
was essential. “We are still waiting to see progress from this public
announcement,” said Zanzanaini. “We want follow-through on this to
convince us it was a substantive attempt to ensure drilling safety and
not just a way to silence the opposition.”


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