Dutch authorities say drilling operators and marine rescue units have three rapid-response exercises planned this year as part of lessons learned from the oil blowout in the Gulf of Mexico last year.
Officials say North Sea operations are vulnerable to the same kind of human error that led to the disaster at Deepwater Horizon. The North Sea, however, is shallow, Dutch oil wells are mostly depleted and drilling is now more focused on gas.
Jan de Jong, the inspector general of the agency in charge of responding to oil and gas accidents, says government oversight of the operators has been far tougher than in the U.S. for 15 years.
But he told The Associated Press Wednesday the government has ordered independent audits and inspections of operations in the last year.