9 November 2009 | Paul Snell
Oil and gas supermajor Shell has applied to the European Commission for an exemption from procurement rules in the UK.
The European utilities directive requires oil and gas firms to put certain exploration and production contracts out to tender in line with procurement regulations. But the EC can grant a release from these if supply markets are already unrestricted and competitive.
If the request is granted it will apply not only to Shell, but to all companies in the exploration and production sector that operate in England, Scotland and Wales.
Earlier this year the EC granted a similar request from the Dutch oil and gas operator Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij (Law briefs, SM, 10 September). At the time it was predicted the ruling could encourage UK firms to apply for a similar exemption. The EC must respond to the request by 16 January.