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1999 Annual Report

Environment & Energy Policy

UKOOA has combined its Energy Policy and Environment Task Groups to better recognise the close links between these issues. The group will continue the development and communication of the Industry’s position with regards to Government and the EU’s Energy Policies and Plans and aims to influence these. It will also work for continual improvement in upstream oil and gas environmental performance whilst sustaining the Industry in its competitiveness in the long term.

In all of this it will recognise the balance that we achieved between regulation, voluntary measures and the costs thus incurred. Members of the group were heavily involved with the OGITF, where guiding principles for regulation were developed. These have been agreed by both Government and Industry. Both believe that they should govern development of environmental regulation in the future.

The guiding principles are:

    Continual improvement of the industries offshore environmental performance should be guided as far as it is practicable by long term goal settings, considering all emission streams holistically.
    Methods for achieving environmental goals should be flexible, appropriate to the asset life cycle, and promote innovation rather than relying on compliance against prescriptive standards or technologies.
    Sound scientific analysis should be applied to assess environmental risk and impact. However, where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty will not be used as a reason for postponing cost – effective measures to prevent environmental derogation.
    In all cases, agreed improvements should recognise the balance between benefit gained and cost incurred, as well as the balance between emission stream trade-offs.
    The process of developing environmental regulations should be transparent and include stakeholder dialogue.
    Penalties should apply if environmental laws are broken.

Representatives from the group continue their involvement in the Oil and Gas Industry Task Force successor – PILOT - which will take forward the initiatives generated during the period of the Task Force. Atlantic Margin Environmental Seabed Survey, using a box corer.

In 1999, the Environment and Energy Policy Group developed responses to a number of Government regulations and initiatives. In particular there was a great deal of activity related to climate change and atmospheric emissions, which lead to an industry response to the Climate Change Levy proposals. On other issues the Group responded to the first consultation on the regulations introducing the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) Directive and was involved in some of the debate on the Pollution Prevention and Control Act.

Although the predecessor Environmental Group had contact with the Wildlife and Countryside Link, following the initiative made through the OGITF, members of the group now participate in the NGO-Industry-Government Environmental Forum. Industry has welcomed this forum that, probably for the first time, allows the key stakeholders involved in offshore oil and gas exploration and development to meet and discuss all significant issues.

The group also issued UKOOA’s second Environmental Report covering data for the year 1998. The report developed the comments made in the first report and demonstrated the depth of research that member companies were undertaking to gain a full understanding of the environment within the field of their operations.

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