Oil & Gas UK calls on Bell Pottinger Public Affairs for lobbying drive

The body representing the UK offshore oil and gas industry has called in additional lobbying firepower as it fights new European safety regulations.

The EU: wants to tighten rules on offshore oil and gas
The EU: wants to tighten rules on offshore oil and gas

Oil & Gas UK has appointed Bell Pottinger Public Affairs on a retained basis to boost its lobbying efforts in Westminster and Whitehall.

The move comes as the European Union proposes new rules around the safety of offshore oil and gas activities to prevent a similar accident to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico from happening in European waters.

The draft regulations propose that EU member states take enforcement action against companies that fail to meet minimum environmental, health and safety standards by stopping their drilling or production operations.

However, Oil & Gas UK has suggested that imposing blanket EU regulation could have the reverse effect and instead undermine safety and environmental performance.

As part of its new remit, BPPA is expected to push the UK Government to oppose the new regulations coming from Brussels.

Oil & Gas UK comms director Trisha O'Reilly confirmed the appointment.

In a statement, she said: 'We look forward to working with Bell Pottinger to help us deepen and extend the political debate.'

Chime Communications to cut staff after US government account loss

Chime Communications, owner of Bell Pottinger, has been forced to cut staff and property costs after its lucrative contract with the US State Department ended, reports Alec Mattinson.

In an interim management statement on Tuesday, Lord Bell announced: 'Our main American government contract ended earlier in 2011 than we expected ... As a consequence of this we have moved quickly to reduce costs, mainly people and property, which has resulted in one-off restructuring costs in 2011.'

He declined to provide further details to PRWeek, but did say that the staff cuts primarily affected a specific area of the PR division and were not large-scale. He also emphasised that the group's revenues would continue to grow this year.

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