Capital Fights Back: Risk, Regulation and Profit in the UK Offshore Oil Industry

Steve Tombs, Dave Whyte

Abstract


On 6th July 1988, a series of explosions ripped apart the Piper Alpha platform, a major North Sea oil installation, killing 167 people. The subsequent inquiry into this, the world's worst offshore industrial accident, proved a moment of exposure both for oil companies and for the British Government, whose regulatory failings were heavily implicated in the disaster leading to the creation of a new offshore safety regime. Yet, as readers of this Journal will be all too aware - especially given recent experiences following the Westray mining disaster - even where health and safety disasters indicate legal reform, law is always, in its development, interpretation and enforcement, a site of struggle.

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Studies in Political Economy:
Online ISSN 1918-7033
Print ISSN 0707-8552