IRO informs the members on regulations with regard to the oil and gas industry.
For this reason IRO monitors changes in oil and gas regulations, lobbys and participates in a number of fora and external working groups.
Important organisations are:
Netherlands Oil and Gas Exploration and Production Association (NOGEPA)
One of the activities of NOGEPA is to regulate environmental, health, safety and training conditions in the oil and gas industry in The Netherlands. NOGEPA has produced guidelines for training employees of mining companies and their (sub) contractors. These guidelines are laid down in the NOGEPA Training Handbook revision 4. The IRO Safety and Training Group is closely involved in the regular revisions of the NOGEPA Training Handbook.
Ministry of Economic Affairs
IRO regularly meets with the Directorate General of Energy and Telecommunication on issues regarding the Dutch Supply industry
Staatstoezicht op de Mijnen (State Supervision of Mines) SODM
On the SODM website information can be found on legislation with regard to mining, labour and environment www.sodm.nl
IRO participates in the quarterly meetings of SODM with the labour Unions, NOGEPA and IADC on labour related subjects.
Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment
IRO regularly meets with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment on issues related to labour like: the change of the social security status of the Dutch Continental Shelf; regular and irregular working times and working permits for marin/offshore personnel. www.szw.nl
- Change social security status Netherlands Continental Shelf
The Ministry of Social Affairs asked advice from Nogepa, IRO, PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) and the Unions on the plans to introduce compulsory social insurance for every one working on the Dutch Continental Shelf. PWC made a paper listing all the possible problems that might arise by introducing social security changes on the NCP. The law came into effect on the 23rd December 2010. All employees who are working on the Dutch part of the continental shelf will be mandatory covered by national insurance, health insurance and employee insurance scheme. With the introduction of this law foreign employees working on the Dutch continental shelf who do not live in the Netherlands will be covered by Dutch social security legislation the same way as foreign employees who work in the Netherlands but do not live in the Netherlands irrelevant of the duration of the work period on the continental shelf.
- Regular and irregular working times
On request of the service companies the Ministry of Social Affairs agreed to make it possible that employees working on regular patrons can change to working in an irregular patron only after one week of leave. However this change possibility will be limited to one or two times a year.
- Working permits for marin/offshore personnel
The Ministries of Justice and Social Affairs are working on modernisation of the licence for staying and labour permits for personnel working on ships under Dutch flags and oil and gas platforms on the Dutch Continental Shelf. In the present situation employees have to renew the working permits every year for a period of seven years. Under the new regulation this will be reduced to three years. Also the possibility to stay in the Netherlands for holidays and medical treatment for this kind of employees will be simplified.
Nederlands Normalisatie Instituut (NEN)
NEN is the Dutch network of expertise in the world of standards and rules.
Standards are crucial for harmonizing products and services. They determine the minimum level of quality, curtail unnecessary variety and prevent design faults. Companies can play an active role in the standardization process within their own sector by participating in the one or more of the standardization technical committees (Dutch, European, International) of their choice and help shape essential standards. For the oil and gas industry the most important are ISO/TC 67 'Materials, equipment and offshore structures for the petroleum, petrochemical and natural gas industries' and CEN/TC 12 (same title). Other liaison committees are CEN/ TC 280 'Offshore containers', CEN/TC 282 'Installations and equipment for LNG', ISO/TC 28, 'Petroleum products and lubricants (includes LPG)', ISO/TC 158, 'Analysis of gases' and ISO/TC 193, 'Natural gas'.
For more information on how to participate in these committees please visit www.nen.nl.
Offshore / Underwater Noise
As stipulated by European directives, the Dutch Government is implementing new regulations to limit offshore noise as this is harmful for marine life like seals and fish. As this measures will restrict the activities of IRO members involved in activities like offshore pile driving for the oil & gas, but also the offshore wind energy industry, IRO is engaging in a lobby to defend the interest of the companies involved.
Though the government is implementing restrictive measures in reality the effects of noise on marine life is not known. Reason that all parties involved are of the opinion that a study has to be made to determine the effect of noise on marine life.
The cost of this study that will take 4 years are € 845.000,- of which €445.000,- will be paid by the Dutch government, € 200.000,- by NOGEPA under the condition that the supply and service industry will take care of the remaining € 200.000,-.
As IRO is of the opinion that this study is very important for the future of the Dutch offshore oil & gas industry and for the Dutch offshore wind energy industry, IRO is stressing that it is important for companies that are involved in offshore/underwater noise to contribute to the study. In January 2011 a start has been made with the study and an users advisory committee has been formed. An IRO representative will take part in this committee.
Wind energy training standard on health and safety
The European Wind Energy Association has appointed an internal task force to develop training standards on health and safety for personnel working on wind energy projects.
Mr. Niilo Alakopsa of Falck Nutec represents IRO (IOWG and ISTG) in this task force as IRO safety and training companies are regularly confronted with the request to organize training courses for offshore wind personnel.
European offshore safety regulation
Triggered by the Macondo disaster in the Gulf of Mexico the European Commission is planning to introduce European offshore safety regulations.
European oil and gas countries with well developed offshore safety regulations are in general against the EU plans and would favor a EU directive instead of a regulation, as they then would be able to keep their own regulations in place. The position paper of the Dutch Government can be found at www.officielebekendmakingen.nl
Kamerstuk BNC-fiche 13-12-2011, 22112 nr 1281. The Nogepa, IRO and Unions position paper can be found at www.nogepa.nl.
Harmonisation of safety standards for offshore wind small crew boats and installation vessels
IRO was contacted by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment which is considering a harmonisation process with other European countries on safety standards for offshore wind Installation vessels and small service boats. However the ministry will only engage in such a process if there is enough interest from the Dutch industry. IOWG and ISTG members where ask to express their interest.