Biodiversity and ecosystem services: new report provides oil & gas industry good practice guidance

Oil and gas exploration, development and production can have a potential impact on the natural and social environments in which they take place.  Recognizing this, the oil and gas industry is working to identify, mitigate or minimize potential impacts and build on the opportunities its presence can offer.

As part of this effort, IOGP and IPIECA have recently published guidance on the fundamental principles for ‘biodiversity and ecosystem services’ (BES) issue management.  The document defines ‘ecosystem services’ as ‘the benefits that ecosystems contribute towards human well-being.’  These can include products such as water, fish and timber, non-material benefits such as culture and recreation, functions such as flood control and the fundamental processes – such as the nutrient cycling and photosynthesis – that support life.

The report brings together information that is essential to developing BES issue management strategies for each key stage of a project’s life cycle.

Guidance is structured around six inter-related management practices applicable throughout a project, including the exploration, development, operational, decommissioning and retirement phases.  These management practices are:

  • Building BES into governance and building processes
  • Engaging stakeholders and understanding their BES expectations
  • Understanding BES baselines
  • Assessing BES dependencies and potential impacts
  • Mitigating and managing BES impacts and identifying BES opportunities
  • Selecting, measuring and reporting BES performance indicators

The guidance document is divided accordingly, with each section explaining the practices involved and the rationales behind them.  Also included is guidance on current and evolving good practice for implementation.  Case studies throughout the guidance illustrate practical implementation for each of the practices.

Biodiversity and ecosystem services fundamentals: Guidance document for the oil and gas industry  is available to download from the publications pages of www.iogp.org.uk and www.ipieca.org.

A short video giving an overview of the concepts and content of the guidance is available here https://vimeo.com/162653546

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