IOGP in Senegal: environmental insights for Africa’s newest oil & gas player

Senegal is in the news. Although its national oil company, Petrosen, has been exploring for decades, recent discoveries have attracted the attention of oil majors from around the world – including many IOGP members.

And where the Association’s members go, so does IOGP. Which is why Environment Director Wendy Brown attended Senegal’s recent Conference on Sustainable Development, held in the capital Dakar at the end of May. Its theme was ‘sustainable and healthy oil and gas development’.

“Several IOGP members and their partners are now gearing up to develop Senegal’s oil and gas. Cairn, for example, had its first success there in 2014, with the country’s first deepwater well. Under the leadership of Senegal’s President Macky Sall, who is a geological engineer, the country is now considering how best to establish a worldclass regulatory regime,” Wendy says.

Her presentation focused on best practices in environmental management of E&P activities, drawing on a range of IOGP and IPIECA work. “As part of that, I explained the Association’s links with national and international regulators and the IOGP Environment’s Committee’s mandate.

At IPIECA’s request, I also spoke of their activities, emphasizing how our two Associations collaborate closely in areas including biodiversity ecosystem services, climate change and oil spill response,” Wendy says.

Among other speakers were Senegal’s Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, the Dutch Ambassador, the head of Senegal’s association of environmental NGOs and BP’s country manager.

“As the meeting progressed it became clear that Senegal has recognized many of the regulatory/environmental challenges ahead and is keen to meet those challenges. This involves benefiting from lessons learned elsewhere, about the need for regulatory clarity and clear lines of demarcation between government departments. In a series of workshops, I participated in a session to discuss recommendations proposed by the Government Scientific Committee on environmental evaluations for oil and gas sector,” Wendy recalls.

Back in London, Wendy emphasises what a positive experience she had in Dakkar.

“There was a real passion to ensure that environmental regulators play a positive and effective role in framing the nation’s growing upstream oil and gas industry.

Now it’s up to us at IOGP to determine in what ways we can help Senegal – and other emerging oil and gas players – do that, based on our Members’ global experience.”

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