The regime of strict liability in the activities of Exploration and Extraction of hydrocarbons

The General Administrative Provisions that establish the Guidelines on Industrial and Operational Safety and Environmental Protection to carry out the activities of Surface Recognition and Exploration, Exploration and Extraction of Hydrocarbons (DACG/E&E), were published in the Official Gazette of the Federation, issued by the National Agency for Industrial Safety and Environmental Protection of the Hydrocarbons Sector (ASEA), established  that those who carry out works or activities for the exploration and extraction of hydrocarbons are subject to a regime of strict liability, that is, they operate under the assumption that they are creating a risk to people and the environment and, therefore, in case of causing damage they must carry out its repair, without this being conditioned to prove their fault.


Derived from the above, ASEA imposes on operators the obligation to perform all actions necessary to prevent environmental damage arising from the risks created, for which they must contain, characterize and remedy them with opportunity under their own processes and according to the applicable legislation and regulations.


In this sense, the “DACG/E&E” establish that Exploration and Extraction activities must be carried out under certain principles, such as:


  1. Minimize the risks at a level that is as low as reasonably possible, that is, up to a level where it is demonstrated that the cost of continuing to reduce that risk is greater compared to the economic benefit that would be obtained. This allows a reasonable balance between economic activity and the protection of third parties and the environment.
  2. Regularly review the risk reduction measures in order to update them based on the technological development and specialized knowledge.


  1. Implement emergency measures and foster a culture of the protection of people, the environment and facilities.


The aforementioned principles are aimed at preventing the accidents from happening, so they must be complemented with measures that have as their object the repair and / or compensation of the damages caused by the an accident.


One of the most effective measures to achieve this is to have financial instruments that allow for the consequences of the materialization of risks, such as an insurance.

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