New rules to make sure oil drilling firms can afford to clean up spills won't stop them from happening in the first place, environmental campaigners warned today.
WWF Scotland spokesman Lang Banks said firms' insurance would be "meaningless" given the ecological disaster that would follow "a single deepwater oil spill.
"While it's only right that oil and gas explorers should be forced to be insured to levels high enough to cover the costs of capping and clean-up, these new rules will do little to prevent future spills," he said.
"Total's Elgin and Shell's Gannet Alpha platforms were all insured but it still didn't prevent accidents at those facilities.
"The only way to prevent future spills and accidents is to end our addiction to oil, stop giving tax breaks to the oil industry and stop exploration for new oil and gas in dangerous deepwater locations."
Whitehall's Department of Energy and Climate Change ordered a review of regulations following the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.
Eleven workers were killed following an explosion on the BP-leased and Transocean-operated rig.
It resulted in the largest offshore oil spill in history and devastated the southern US coastline.
The resulting Maitland review was published in December 2011 and contained several recommendations, including some relating to liability and insurance.