On 21 June 2017, the Polish President signed an amendment to the Geological and Mining Act. The new regulations are designed to increase the safety of offshore oil and gas extraction and to simplify mining companies’ reporting obligations.
The amendment implements the provisions of Directive 2013/30/EU in Polish law. The EU legislation concerns the security of exploration, recognition and extraction of hydrocarbons, oil and gas offshore. Poland was required to implement these regulations by July 2015.
According to experts from the Ministry of the Environment, the new law is intended to increase the safety of offshore extraction by establishing new response mechanisms in the event of breakdown. Such activities will be overseen by the relevant district mining offices.
The regulations take into account issues concerning, in particular, documents that companies conducting activities related to hydrocarbon deposits in Polish waters will have to submit to the district mining office; mandatory submission to the European Commission of an annual report on installations, incidents, inspections and investigations and the results of activities related to hydrocarbon deposits within the maritime borders of Poland; establishment of an independent verification system and confidential reporting of problems with the safety of operations related to hydrocarbon deposits.
There are more than 600 drilling platforms on the continental shelf of the European Union, including almost 400 UK installations. Poland has three such facilities – two for exploration and one for drilling. However, new investments in this sector are expected within the Polish maritime borders.
The new Act will come into force in July 2017.