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Directive 2013/30/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 June 2013 on safety of offshore oil and gas operations and amending Directive 2004/35/EC
In the light of the Deepwater Horizon accident in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, it was published on the 28th of June 2013 in the Official Journal of the European Union the Directive 2013/30/EU regarding the safety of offshore oil and gas operations.

The scope of the Directive 2013/30/EU is to reduce the risk of a major accident in the waters of the European Union and limit the consequences in case of such an accident. The main provisions of the Directive are:
- The licensees need to maintain sufficient capacity to meet their financial obligations resulting from liabilities for offshore hydrocarbon activities.
- The operator prepares report on major hazards, which is submitted to the competent authority.
- The operator prepares an internal emergency response plan.
- The Member States shall prepare external emergency response plans covering all offshore hydrocarbon installations.
- The operator establishes schemes for independent verification.

Additionally, the Member States shall at all times ensure the independence and objectivity of the competent authority in carrying out its regulatory functions. In order to achieve the abovementioned objectives, the Member States shall require the regulatory functions of the competent authority to be carried out within an authority that is independent of any of the functions of the Member State relating to the economic development of the offshore natural resources and licensing of offshore hydrocarbon operations within the Member State and the collection and management of revenues from those operations. The Republic of Cyprus, in order to ensure the abovementioned prerequisites, decided to designate the Department of Labour Inspection of the Ministry of Labour, Welfare and Social Insurance as the competent authority.

The Republic of Cyprus transposed the Directive 2013/30/EU into the national legislative framework with the Health and Safety at Work (Safety of Offshore Oil and Gas Operations) Regulations of 2015 (P.I. 424/2015).

Environmental Impact Assessment Concerning Hydrocarbon Activities
According to the provisions of the Environmental Impact Assessment from Certain Plans and/or Programs Law (L.102(I)/2005), the Ministry of Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism assigned to a consortium of consultants the preparation of a Strategic Environmental Impact Assessment (“SEIA”) Study concerning hydrocarbons activities within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the Republic of Cyprus. The overall objective of the SEIA study was to identify, describe and evaluate the likely significant environmental impacts of implementing hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation activities within the EEZ of the Republic. The SEIA was submitted to the Department of Environment (Environmental Authority) for evaluation on the 30th of September 2008 and the Environmental Authority issued a relative environmental opinion.

Additionally, according to the Environmental Impact Assessment from Certain Projects Law (L.127(I)/2018) for drilling an exploration well and the production of hydrocarbons the submission of an Environmental Impact Assessment Study (“EIAS”) is required. The Competent Authority according to the Law is the Department of Environment.

The EIAS are evaluated by the Environmental Impact Assessment Committee and the Environmental Authority (Department of Environment) issues an Environmental Approval, which includes terms, which the licensees are bound to follow and comply.

More information regarding the abovementioned studies you can find on the website of the Department of Environment.

Protocol for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against Pollution resulting from Exploration and Exploitation of the Continental Shelf and the Seabed and its Subsoil (Offshore Protocol)
The Republic of Cyprus was among of the first Mediterranean countries which ratified the Protocol for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against Pollution resulting from Exploration and Exploitation of the Continental Shelf and the Seabed and its Subsoil (Offshore Protocol) of the Barcelona Convention, with the Convention for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea Against Pollution and on Relevant Protocols (Ratification) (Amending) Law (L.20(III)/2001). The Offshore Protocol entered into force on the 24th of March 2011 and the competent authority is the Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment.

This Protocol covers the hydrocarbons exploration and exploitation activities, including the acquisition of seismic data.

Offshore Protocol.pdf

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Offshore Protocol_ApplicationForm.doc

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Offshore Safety_2013_30_ΕC_en.pdf

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Offshore Safety_KDP_424_2015.pdf

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