Hudghton (Greens/EFA) - Mr President, The Gulf of Mexico oil disaster serves as a reminder of the inherent risks involved in maritime oil exploration. The investigations into what went wrong in American waters must be full and rigorous and the EU should pay careful attention to any lessons needed to be learned. Nevertheless, the calls for a moratorium on all deep-sea drilling in EU waters are premature and wholly disproportionate. The regulations in place in Scottish waters are not those which were in place in the Gulf of Mexico and we have decades of experience in this industry. Scottish oil exploration has not been without incident and the Piper Alpha catastrophe showed that some prices are too high in the pursuit of oil. However, lessons were learned from Piper Alpha and regulations were tightened up. If further lessons emerge from the Gulf, appropriate amendments can be made. These amendments should however be the responsibility of the democratic institutions of Scotland - and knee jerk reactions from this parliament are unlikely to solve any problems.

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