Experts have warned that the Elgin platform gas blowout could have a huge impact on the North Sea oil industry.
Credit ratings agency Fitch say that the Elgin gas field accident in the UK North Sea makes it more likely that the European Commission will implement stricter licensing and safety requirements on oil and gas companies.
Proposals could dramatically increase the size, scope and timeliness of companies' environmental liabilities. Credit ratings of companies operating in the North Sea and other EU territorial waters could then be affected. Fitch claimed that all UK oil and gas offshore firms may be required to set aside up to £8.2bn for the right to operate in European waters.
Chief executive Malcolm Webb said yesterday: 'While we will always support proper moves to improve safety, the Commission's proposal to dismantle the UK's exemplary safety regime is likely to have exactly the opposite effect.
'Moving overall responsibility for offshore safety to the EU, who have absolutely no experience or competence in the regulation of safety in the offshore oil and gas industry is, in our view, totally lacking in sense or balance.'