A moratorium on offshore oil and gas exploitation and exploration by 2035 is at the heart of the “Toward an EU offshore drilling ban” Manifesto co-signed by MIO-ECSDE and 21 other European NGOs.

In view of the upcoming revision of the Offshore Safety Directive 2013/30/EU planned for 2020, the Manifesto is part of a campaign launched at the initiative of Surfrider Foundation Europe on the 20th of April, which marks the 10th anniversary of the catastrophic Deepwater Horizon explosion leading to the biggest oil spill in human history.

Particularly in the highly vulnerable Mediterranean region, limiting climate change as much as possible by using renewable energy to minimize oil and gas consumption, MIO-ECSDE joins with all the other co-signatories, to shape the future of our continent’s energy policy by calling for an EU-wide offshore drilling ban that will shield European coasts, coastal communities and marine species from the related destructive effects.

All stages of offshore drilling – exploration, exploitation, maintenance and dismantling – have a dramatic and irreversible impact on ocean biodiversity, putting human lives and marine species in grave danger.

Some of the environmental risks are:

  • Oil spills: the Deepwater Horizon accident is not unique. For the past 30 years, humanity has faced more than 10 major offshore accidents, half of which led to oil spills.
  • Offshore exploitation inevitably leads to hydrocarbon releases and water pollution drilling muds containing benzene, zinc, arsenic, radioactive materials, and other contaminants with irreversible consequences.
  • Seismic testing that precedes exploitation has a huge impact on marine life, resulting in hearing loss, reduced catch rates of 40-80%, and beach strandings for a number of species.

MIO-ECSDE and all the signatories of the Manifesto are calling on the European Union and its Member States to adopt a hardline stance against offshore drilling:

  • By stopping the approval of new drilling permits both for exploration and exploitation by 2023;
  • By committing to refuse renewals on issued authorizations after their expiration date in order to reach a complete phase-out by 2035;
  • By putting a stop to exploitation and exploration activities in and around Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in order to protect these ecosystems, crucial for ocean resilience;
  • By prohibiting drilling in the EU and the EEA icy Arctic waters. The Arctic is an area where the probability of an incident occurring is higher and the potential damage is worse due to its vulnerable ecosystem with keystone species.


Read this in French here