New guidance has been published for organisations engaged in hydrocarbon activities and for regulatory authorities on how to make these activities less damaging for the environment.
The Hydrocarbons Guidance Document addresses 13 onshore and 10 offshore activities of the oil and gas extracting sector that have the potentially highest impact on the environment and human health. These include handling of drill cuttings, chemicals and hydrocarbons or management of fugitive emissions.
The identified best practices in the document are intended to serve as guidance for organisations engaged in hydrocarbons activities and for the regulatory/permitting authorities to draw upon when planning new facilities or carrying out modifications to existing facilities, planning changes and investments, as well as in permitting activities across the European Union.
At the same time, the Hydrocarbons Guidance Document supports EU energy security objectives by setting out a level, predictable and transparent playing field for oil and gas activities, by helping to address public concerns on domestic oil and gas production, and by facilitating dialogue with and among relevant authorities.
The guidance is the result of four years of collaborative work of Member States, the relevant industries and the Commission in order to identify Best Available Techniques and Best Risk Management approaches for the oil and gas extracting sector.
Although the hydrocarbons industry has operated for many years with a range of far reaching regulations, standards and guidance aimed at protecting the environment, today’s guidance document unifies and clarifies them in the European context.
In the past two decades, indigenous energy production in the European Union has steadily declined in spite of an increase in renewable energy production. The Communication on European Energy Security Strategy calls for the exploitation of oil and gas resources in Europe, both in traditional areas of production and in newly discovered areas.
In its Communications on European Energy Security and on the exploration and production of Hydrocarbons (such as shale gas) using high volume hydraulic fracturing in the EU the Commission announced that it would organise an exchange of information to identify Best Available Techniques (BAT) on hydrocarbons exploration and extraction. This information exchange covered all steps of the life cycle of a hydrocarbons project and covered risk management in greater detail.
9 April 2019