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IOGP’s team in Malta: EU Affairs Manager Bernard Vanheule (who drove the Association’s participation in Our Ocean), Executive Director Gordon Ballard and Media & EU Affairs Manager Nareg Terzian

Gordon Ballard addresses EU leaders at Malta ocean conference

IOGP’s Executive Director joined leading figures in the EU and the environmental sector – including the Prince of Wales – at ‘Our Ocean’, a conference organized by the European Commission in Malta on 5−6 October.

Addressing the conference, Gordon took the opportunity to renew IOGP’s commitment to global conservation. This involved, in the first instance, opening up the Association’s Seabed Survey Data Model (SSDM) to the scientific and business communities.

‘Our industry has operated offshore for over a century. By giving free access to our data collection and processing model to environmental agencies, the offshore wind industry, port and harbour authorities and others, we are providing those working in the marine environment with the best tools available for overall ocean management,’ Gordon said.

‘In a 2°C scenario, oil and gas will still make up around 40% of energy used in Europe in 2040. Producing it in Europe means securing jobs and government revenues for decades, but also operating according to some of the highest environmental standards in the world,’ he added.

Gordon went on to reaffirm IOGP Members’ funding of the Proteus marine biodiversity data collection project, led by UN Environment.

The more information maritime industries have, the better decisions they can make. The oil and gas industry’s contribution to Proteus is specifically aimed at strengthening the World Data Base on Protected Areas, the most comprehensive global database of marine and terrestrial protected areas.

‘Our members have been contributing financially to the Proteus project for nearly fifteen years, and continue to do so, despite a challenging economic situation for our sector. This is one of these projects where everyone wins: the environment, scientists, ocean conservation agencies, and business,’ Gordon said.

Proteus is consistent with the upstream oil and gas sector’s efforts to minimize the impact of its operations on the ocean. Partnerships with scientific bodies and R&D bodies help to further improve scientific knowledge of the seabed and marine environment, while access to reliable information reduces risk – both environmental and financial, Gordon said.

Both Proteus and the SDSM are indicative of the oil and gas industry’s support for the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 14 on Life Below Water. They also advance the EU’s own Blue Growth policy.

While he was in Malta, Gordon had meetings with Maltese Ministers Konrad Mizzi (Blue Growth), José Herrera (Environment & Climate), as well as advisors to the Maltese Prime Minister and Energy Minister.

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