Workshop looks at “Our future climate – understanding the spread of physical risk for the oil and gas industry”

IOGP joined forces with the Joint Technical Commission for Oceanography and Marine Meteorology (JCOMM) – founded by the World Meteorological Organization and UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission – and the World Climate Research Program (WCRP) to hold a cross-disciplinary workshop on the physical risk for the oil and gas industry of a changing climate.

The three-day event, one of the most highly-regarded of 2018, took place at BP’s UK Upstream Learning Centre. It attracted leading academics and over 40 IOGP members from operators around the world. It was the first such gathering for a decade.

IOGP Executive Director, Gordon Ballard, who welcomed the participants, stated that ”If you accept climate change as a reality – as IOGP does – it makes sense to prepare every aspect of your operations for all that implies. I’m happy to see that your workshop agenda reflects this, running the gamut from ice coverage to tropical storms, drought to flooding.” Gordon went on to stress the importance of identifying practical steps that he hoped would emerge from the workshop to help operators meet the challenges ahead. “Our employees, contractors, shareholders and wider society – all of whom will continue to rely on oil and gas for decades to come, are counting on such solutions”, he said.

A key workshop objective was to understand how the climate science has evolved over the past decade.

The workshop concluded that the potential physical risks that the oil and gas industry needs to focus on are associated with projections for:

  • Increases in air and sea temperatures that may impact production rates (due to reduced cooling) and exposure of personnel to an increased risk of heat stress
  • Increases in the risk of inundation for coastal facilities due to sea level rise, storm surge events and precipitation
  • Localised increases in extreme waves because of changes to storm tracks, frequency and intensity
  • Increases in extreme precipitation in some areas that may have impacts on industry supply chains and operations
  • Localised increases in the risk of drought due to poleward migration of drier areas, increased duration between rainfall events and changes to water policy.

Oliver Jones, IOGP Metocean Committee member and Climate Change Workshop Task Force Chair, further emphasised: “A good portion of the workshop discussion focused on identifying the most appropriate tools available for quantifying different climate risks. It was highlighted that the use of large multi-member ensembles of historical and future climate scenarios, coupled with long observational datasets (where available) and non-stationary extreme value statistics, represented a state-of-the-art solution to assessing potential changes to future design and operating conditions. This suggests that the development of even larger, high-resolution ensembles of future (and historical) climate is where game-changing advances in climate projections could be achieved, and where we should be concentrating our support through academic partnerships.”

IOGP’s Metocean Committee is currently reviewing the workshop material to identify areas of particular risk (or uncertainty) that can be further understood through working groups and future joint industry projects.

The Association is pleased to announce that the workshop generated ratings of 95-100 percent in the ‘excellent and good’ categories for content, speaker selection and organization. We would like to thank all who contributed to this success.

More information about the workshop including all presented material can be found via the following link:, which includes an executive summary.

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