Environmental management in the upstream oil and gas industry

Updated publication reflects over 20 years of progress

Since 1997, IOGP’s Report 254 – Environmental management in the upstream oil and gas industry, has been the go-to guide for good practice throughout the lifecycle of upstream projects.  IOGP has collaborated with IPIECA to update Report 254 to reflect the innovations and improvements in technology and practices the industry has developed in the past 23 years.

The new edition also reflects changing contexts and evolving global issues and concerns due to growing pressures on the natural environment – including the need for more efficient use of resources, the preservation of ecosystems, and the promotion of biodiversity.

“We hope this report will prove to be an invaluable reference source of industry good practice to improve environmental performance of the upstream oil and gas industry,” says Ian Sealy, Schlumberger, Chair of the Task Force charged with updating the publication.

As for the wider issue of climate change, both IOGP and IPIECA support the Paris Agreement, a key feature of which is the goal of holding the increase in global average temperature to well below 2°C, with efforts to limit any increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

Towards a global energy system

The new edition of Report 254 acknowledges these goals, achievable by moving towards a global energy system that has net-zero greenhouse gas emissions while recognising the parallel need to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy.  “During this complicated energy transition, oil and gas will still be needed, so it is critical that companies manage their operations in a way that reduces environmental impacts,” the report says.

In practice, the report goes on to say, this means ensuring progress in each of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations in 2015 to shape international development by 2030.

“IOGP and IPIECA provide an essential platform of oil and gas environmental experts in the international upstream oil and gas industry, and this document provides a thorough framework of the E&P environmental management approaches that help address environmental risks and impacts.  This publication provides a useful overview of the E&P lifecycle and a framework of the environmental management approaches in the upstream oil and gas industry that help address the environmental risks and impacts.”

Ligia Noronha, Director of the Economy Division, UN Environment Programme (UNEP)

The new edition of the report focuses on four main areas. The first of these features updates on over 20 years of relevant technology.  A chapter on environmental management identifies and incorporates latest good practices from around the world.  The next section looks at the latest scientific knowledge regarding environmental impacts and covers the best practice mitigation measures, and provides references to relevant IOGP and IPIECA publications.  The report concludes with a discussion of the various regulatory frameworks that guide oil and gas industry operations.

Useful for regulators and policy makers

Commenting on the report, IOGP Environment Director Wendy Brown said: “I believe this new edition will be especially useful for regulators and policy makers in developing countries, as well as industry professionals and consultants. Our goal is for this report to be even more widely used than the first edition. To help make that happen, we will translate it into several languages and promote the contents to improve global uptake.  With UNEP’s cooperation, we would also like to incorporate the report’s findings into their communications and training efforts, including the UNEP Oil for Development Programme.”

Brian Sullivan, IPIECA’s Executive Director, said that Report 254 “represents consensus from IPIECA and IOGP Members and demonstrates both organisations’ recognition that environmental management fits into a broader process of sustainable development, which addresses all the most urgent economic, social and environmental challenges of this generation.”

Copies of the updated Report 254 (and supporting material) are freely available here.

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