IOGP/JCOMM/WCRP Workshop (September 25-27, 2018)

Our Future Climate

Understanding the spread of physical risk for the oil and gas industry

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Co-sponsored by the IOGP Metocean Committee.
Supported by the Joint Technical Commission for Oceanography and Marine Meteorology (JCOMM) and the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP).


Changes in climate have the potential to create significant disruption and uncertainty in the oil and gas sector.

These include:

  • cost impacts such as reduced plant efficiency from temperature rise and environmental impacts from the overflow of drainage systems from increased precipitation.
  • social impacts related to increased water stress and physical risks from, for example, increased flood levels, sea level rise and changing storms patterns. Climate change can impact the communities and environments in which the industry operates. Stakeholder expectations around climate change (including shareholders and governments) are also changing and are likely to continue to change.

Understanding both physical risks and vulnerabilities of the oil and gas sector will help IOGP Members develop and implement adaptation strategies to manage the physical impacts of climate change.

Workshop objectives

Raise awareness and disseminate knowledge related to risks, methodologies and approaches that help adapt to climate change


Improve confidence in the use of climate data by identifying its limitations and develop improved methodologies that reduce and quantify uncertainty

Understand the potential risk picture that climate changes pose for all aspects of the industry


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Overview and introduction

Welcome and overview presentations from the host and event sponsors.



Our Future Climate: Understanding the spread of physical risk
Aleida Rios, BP, Head of Upstream Engineering

Metocean Committee Perspectives
James Stear, IOGP Metocean Committee Chair

JCOMM overview
Val Swail, Environment and Climate Change Canada, JCOMM representative to IOGP Metocean Committee

WCRP overview 
Boram Lee, Senior Scientific Officer, WCRP

The IPCC 5th Assessment Report process and findings
Francis Zwiers, Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada

Emissions scenarios

The session focussed on higher level questions on how knowledge has evolved over the past decade with regard to emission pathways and global circulation.


Emission Scenarios for the 21st Century
Sergey Paltsev, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Emission Scenarios for Risk Assessments
Piers Forster, Priestly International Centre for Climate, University of Leeds

Air and seawater temperatures

Air and seawater temperatures affect several oil and gas activities including power generation and LNG liquefaction. Generally, higher temperature negatively impacts efficiency, meaning the production of oil and gas becomes more energy intensive. Additionally, increased heat stress on outside workers results in potentially unsafe conditions, reduced working hours and reduced productivity. Ocean circulation is also of interest in this session, particularly in terms of identifying potential changes in larger scale circulations.


Drivers of global termperature trends – past and potential futures
Mchelle Cain and Myles Allen, University of Oxford

Patterns and impacts of ocean warming and heat uptake 
Shang-Ping Xie, Scripps Institute of Oceanography, USCD

Sea level rise and ice coverage

Rising global sea level has several potential consequences to upstream and downstream oil and gas activities. Fixed platforms, coastal refineries and LNG facilities become more exposed to the effects of storm surge and wave loading. In Arctic regions, terrestrial ice coverage and permafrost supports key oil and gas infrastructure such as strategic pipelines and service roads. Changes in both sea level and ice coverage could impact our ability to operate safely and could require mitigation measures.


Relative Sea Level Rise: Coastal Impacts and Risk
Patrick A. Harr, Jupiter Intelligence, San Mateo, CA, USA

Seal Level Rise & Polar Ice Sheets
Patrick Heimbach, Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences, Jackson School of Geosciences, Institute for Geophysics

Sea level rise: Recent progress and challenges
Svetlana Jevrejeva, National Oceanography Centre, Liverpool, UK

Arctic sea ice (and icebergs) in a changing climate
Laurent Bertino, Nansen Center

Tropical storms

Tropical storms provide the governing design conditions to both fixed and floating platforms in most tropical regions. Therefore, projected changes in storm characteristics (primarily track and intensity) will potentially have significant repercussions to platform integrity and our ability to operate safely. Platforms in most of these regions are evacuated prior to large storm events, however, if storm frequency increases, evacuations will be more common leading to greater production losses and increased risk to offshore workers (evacuations are not risk-free).


Tropical Cyclones and Climate Change: Historical Trends and Future Projections
Thomas R. Knutson, Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory / NOAA, Princeton, NJ, USA

Observed Trends in Hurrican Behaviour
James Kossin, NOAA’s Centers for Environmental Information, Center for Weather and Climate, Madison, WI

Hurricanes and typhoons in the global climate system
Pier Luigi Vidale, Department of Meteorology, University of Reading / NCAS-Climate

Extra-tropical storms

In extra-tropical regions we have historically designed facilities to survive abnormal (10,000-year return period) conditions and do not generally evacuate in storm conditions. However, this position is continuously revisited when new knowledge/data emerges. We are thus keen to understand what the latest information from climate models is telling us.


North Atlantic wave height climate towards the end of the 21st century
Øyvind Breivik, Norwegian Meteorological Institute

Global Wave Climate Projections – The COWCLIP Project
Alvaro Semedo, IHE Delft

How might extratropical storms change in the future?
Len Shaffrey, National Centre for Atmostpheric Science, University of Reading

Rainfall and flooding

Recent high-profile flooding events in the US (for example hurricane Harvey in 2017) have had significant impacts on refining availability and on the infrastructure and supply chain that support a number of Downstream activities. Onshore gas production facilities in arid regions have experienced severe flash-floods resulting in lengthy periods of downtime. Increasing snowfall may increase loading on structures and impact daily operations. These changes may or may not reflect a changing climate, however, we require tools that allow us to better assess the basis of design using the best available knowledge and datasets.


Rainfall and Flooding: Historical Trends and Future Projections
Thomas R. Knutson, NOAA / Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory

On the challenges and prospects of estimating past and future rainfall extremes
Francis Zwiers, Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium, Unversity of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada

Drought, Fire and Water availability

A lack of water may be as damaging as flooding. There is potential for shifting precipitation patterns and air temperatures to impact the runoff volumes in rivers, particularly the seasonal patterns, and to significantly change the volume of water recharging aquifers. This could affect the sustainability in water supplies in many regions. The projected variations in precipitation and temperature patterns also have the potential to impact the frequency and severity of droughts. Importantly, drought conditions can lead to increased risk of wildfire with adverse effects on infrastructure and supply chain. Recent droughts, such as these in South East Brazil, California and South Africa, have highlighted the severity of the issues.


Drought in a Warming Climate: Causes for Change
Dr. Guiling Wang, Dept of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Conneticut, USA

Global Water Resources: Human and Climate Impacts over the 21st Century
Mohamad Hejazi, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Further information

For further information please contact Birgitta Visser at