Detailed guide: Oil and gas: offshore emergency response legislation

Updated: Changes to OPRED (BEIS) contact email addresses and telephone numbers

The Merchant Shipping (Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response Co-operation Convention) Regulations 1998

Every offshore installation and oil-handling facility must have an approved oil pollution emergency plan (OPEP) setting out arrangements for responding to incidents that cause or may cause marine pollution by oil, with a view to preventing such pollution or reducing or minimising its effect.

New installations and/or new operations require an OPEP to be submitted to OPRED (BEIS) at least two months prior to start-up. Personnel with responsibility for oil pollution incident response must be competent, both in oil pollution incident response and the use of their OPEP.

For further information please contact the Business Support Team at or 01224 254138

Pollution Response in Emergencies Marine Impact Assessment and Monitoring:

The PREMIAM website, gives guidance and sets standards for post-spill environmental marine monitoring and is intended to act as a guide and resource for UK government agencies advising incident Environment Groups, industries with the potential to cause marine pollution, and the wider UK monitoring community.

PREMIAM is a DEFRA initiated project being managed by CEFAS. It is anticipated that the PREMIAM post spill monitoring guidelines will, in time, be integrated within UK response plans, including the National Contingency Plan and offshore installation oil pollution emergency plans. The mechanism to progress this is currently being discussed with the oil and gas industry and any requirements will be included within future revised oil pollution emergency plan guidance.

The Offshore Installations (Emergency Pollution Control) Regulations 2002

The Offshore Installations (Emergency Pollution Control) Regulations 2002 give the government powers to intervene in the event of an incident or accident involving an offshore installation where:

  • there is, or may be a risk of, significant pollution
  • an operator is failing or has failed to implement effective control and preventative operations

OPRED(BEIS)’s role is to monitor, and if necessary intervene, to protect the environment in the event of a threatened or actual pollution incident in connection with an offshore installation.

For further information please contact the Business Support Team at or 01224 254138