New civil penalty powers for offshore oil and gas regulator

Offshore oil and gas companies can now be issued civil penalties by its regulator the Offshore Petroleum Regulator for Environment and Decommissioning (OPRED).

The Offshore Environmental Civil Sanctions Regulations 2018 came into force on 1 October, but OPRED has only been allowed to impose civil sanctions on environmental breaches since 1 November.

Up until now the only two UK environmental regulators who have been able to issue civil penalties instead of pursuing breaches through criminal prosecution have been the Environment Agency and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.

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