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Chevron, Total warn UK not to ban deepsea drilling

LONDON — Leading oil and gas companies warned British lawmakers Tuesday that any U.K. moratorium on deepwater drilling in response to the Gulf of Mexico spill would force them to abandon the North Sea in favor of projects elsewhere.

Executives from Chevron Corp., France’s Total and Danish state-controlled DONG Energy told a parliamentary committee that their industry would likely pull out of Britain if there was a lengthy halt to exploration and production – leaving the country increasingly dependent on imported energy.

All three companies also insisted that Britain’s tighter safety standards make the chance of a major spill in the waters off the Scottish coast less likely, and repeated their criticisms of BP over the spill.

British legislators are investigating the safety implications of the Gulf of Mexico spill and considering whether the U.K. government was correct in deciding not to put in place a moratorium on new deepwater drilling in the North Sea.

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