The industry takes its responsibility towards the environment very seriously and works with Government and stakeholders to minimise the environmental footprint of operations. Finding and producing oil and gas is an industrial process that, inevitably, has some degree of impact on the environment and the challenge is to balance this with the benefits that society takes from having a secure energy supply.
To help understand where this balance might be we can:
To understand and manage the environmental risks of the hydrocarbon lifecycle so that, by 2018, stakeholders agree that the residual risks are acceptable.
This means that the industry will undertake the work necessary to find out about our impacts and take action where we need to, so that by 2015 we can agree with stakeholders that the environmental risks are at a level that are not of concern.
The evidence that we have for discharges to the marine environment suggests that the residual risk is not significant and that further reduction in discharges would provide no benefit to the environment.
But, how can we be comfortable that the environment is not at risk from exploration and production activities whilst we gather the evidence needed to assess the risk? There are two safeguards. Firstly, OSPAR Decisions and Recommendations and EU Regulations and Directives are intended to provide protection for the environment and their goals and targets are enshrined in UK legislation. Secondly, all operating companies involved in the exploration and production on the UKCS are required to have an independently verified Environmental Management System in place. The EMS will ensure that, where necessary for a particular location or operation, appropriate control measures will be applied.