Environment Report 2018
ENVIRONMENT REPORT 2018
1. Foreword Welcome to Oil &Gas UK’s 2018 Environment Report , which provides an update on the environmental performance of the UK offshore oil and gas industry to the end of 2017. The report analyses and interprets data gathered and monitored by the Offshore Petroleum Regulator for Environment and Decommissioning (OPRED), and covers emissions to atmosphere, discharges to sea, accidental oil and chemical releases, and waste disposal. It also summarises the activities Oil & Gas UK groups have undertaken over the last year to support the development of new environmental legislation, to share lessons learnt and good practice, and to improve industry environmental management. Over recent years, the sector has focused on improving efficiency in its offshore operations and this includes a commitment to continuously improve its environmental performance despite the challenges of doing so in a maturing oil and gas basin. Ageing assets require more maintenance and the maturity of the basin means that maximising economic recovery from fields requires greater effort. Notwithstanding these challenges, over recent years efforts by the industry have brought improvements in environmental performance. 2017 saw this performance stabilise, underlining that good environmental management remains a priority for operators. To sustain the positive trend in environmental performance, even as it becomes more difficult, will require the renewed focus, greater collaboration and innovation that are being applied across all aspects of the industry as part of Vision 2035. This annual report provides an opportunity for industry to review environmental performance indicators, and reflect on areas where there are opportunities to drive further improvement. The UKCS is a mature and complex basin, and the challenges that accompany the production of hydrocarbons here mean that the data outlined in this report are equally complex, as the examples below demonstrate. In 2017, there was a reduction of 3 per cent in the volume of produced water discharged to sea during oil and gas production. Record levels of produced water were reinjected into suitable subsurface strata or the reservoir itself as an alternative to discharging to sea and, where technically feasible, to aid enhanced oil recovery. Against this, the total amount of dispersed oil contained in that produced water discharge rose slightly to 2,140 tonnes. There were 451 accidental releases of oil and chemicals, fewer than in 2016, which amounted to around 279 tonnes to the marine environment – again, an improvement on 2016. Of these, 253 were unplanned releases of approximately 23 tonnes of oil, representing 0.00003 per cent of total production. However, there is no room for complacency, as industry always aims for the goal of no accidental releases. Innovative technology has also helped the sector reduce the proportion of associated gas flared and vented. Newer installations are designed to flare less and recover more gas, while an increasing number of older platforms with routine flaring built-in are being decommissioned, but flaring and venting remained relatively stable over the last few years, and both increased in 2017 compared to 2016. Greenhouse gas emissions per installation were lower in 2017 than in 2016. Over the same period carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) emissions from the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) saw an increase from 13.1 million tonnes in 2016 to 14.2million tonnes, although the sector’s long-term trend for CO 2 emissions continues to fall. Industry’s greenhouse gas emissions contribute around 3 per cent of the total UK emissions, the same proportion as in 2016.
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