Royal Decree-Law 16/2017 of 17 November on the safety of offshore oil and gas developments

Last updated: 5 July 2021

This decree ensues Directive 2013/30/EU of the European Parliament on the safety of offshore oil and gas operations. It establishes minimum safety requirements for operations related to the exploration and development of hydrocarbons in the marine. Requisites for operators and concession holders include requirements for technical capacity, economic capacity and operating protocols based on systematic risk management. In particular, risks must be reported and managed through best available techniques at all times.  They must also consider the opinions of an independent verifier, who shall supervise the project throughout its life cycle.


Permits or hydrocarbon exploitation concessions will only be granted to applicants that meet applicable requirements. During the evaluation of the technical and financial capacity of applicants, aspects related to risk assessment and the capacity to prevent and respond to accidents shall be assessed, such as information available regarding prior behaviour of the applicant with regard to safety and the environment. These requirements include a financial guarantee to cover environmental harm that may arise from operations as well as necessary prevention efforts.


Offshore operators must submit documentation to the competent authority, including: a corporate safety policy; a description of the safety and environmental management system; an independent verification program; a risk assessment; an emergency plan; and any further documents requested.

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