Oil and gas: offshore pollution response legislation

How to comply with planning and training and for spills and other oil pollution incidents; what will happen in the event of an incident

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

Every offshore installation that presents a risk of oil pollution must have an approved Oil Pollution Emergency Plan (OPEP) setting out arrangements for responding to incidents that cause marine pollution by oil.

The OPEP must be prepared, submitted and implemented in accordance with the OPRC Regulations and the Department’s “Guidance Notes for Preparing Oil Pollution Emergency Plans”.



Other Useful Information

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.

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

Offshore Installations (Emergency Pollution Control) Regulations 2002

These Regulations provide powers to the Secretary of State to prevent and reduce pollution, and the risk of pollution, following an accident involving an offshore installation where:

  • there may be significant pollution;
  • an operator is failing or has failed to implement effective control and preventative operations.

The Secretary of State’s role is to monitor, and if necessary intervene, 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.

Published 22 January 2013
Last updated 11 July 2019 + show all updates
  1. Changes made to the entire body of text of the page
  2. Changes to OPRED (BEIS) contact email addresses and telephone numbers
  3. Updated guidance notes.
  4. Oil and Gas: Updated OPEP Guidance Notes July 2012
  5. Oil and gas: Change to Validity Period for Oil Spill Response Refresher Training - (added)
  6. First published.