Review of North Sea safety expected

A radical shake-up of the UK's North Sea oil industry is expected next year.

Unnerved by the BP oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico and its aftermath, ministers are thought to be ready to announce a fresh review of standards and regulation in the North Sea.

The Energy Secretary, Chris Huhne, is said to be ready to give the go-ahead to a thorough inspection of the rules surrounding North Sea rigs and platforms next year.

Mr Huhne has in the past maintained that the UK regime is "fit for purpose".