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Directive 2008/56/EC establishes a framework for community action in the field of marine environmental policy in the European Union (EU): the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, in short MSFD. Its aim is to achieve good environmental status of the EU's marine waters by 2020. MSFD will have dramatic consequences not only on produced water legislation but also in other areas such as underwater noise, a source of energy regulators consider as polluting. As a first step in the process of implementing the Directive, the European Union has designed descriptors of the good environmental status of the seas bordering the EU. Strong discussions have already taken place in which industry had to lobby to ensure that a fair treatment is made, not at least regarding descriptor n 11 (introduction of energy in the water). Another facet of the MSFD is that it heavily relies on regional conventions: OSPAR in the North Sea, HELCOM in the Baltic and the Barcelona Convention in the Mediterranean Sea. These conventions are all struggling at developing the framework and the tools required by the MSFD. The paper develops what is at stake and the foreseeable consequences for the E&P industry. It explains the process in place to implement the provisions of the MSFD, and the role of the stakeholders in this process including the prominent one that the national and global E&P industry organisations play.
Abstract Until now, one of the key players for the environmental regulations in the North Sea has been the Convention for the Protection of the North East Atlantic, OSPAR. But in 2008 the adoption of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) by the European Commission changed the deal. Although MSFD has more or less the same goal as OSPAR, it works differently and no doubt that its role will increase. The paper, which complements two previous publications [Ref. 1 and Ref. 2], aims at clarifying the new role of both OSPAR and MSFD and developing the strategy recently adopted by OSPAR in September 2010 as well as the consequences of the MSFD. This latter requests that the member states (including Norway as the MSFD has an EEA effect) implement effective measures by 2016 at the latest. Both regulations aim at reaching a good environmental status (GES) of the maritime area by 2020. It may look as a long term, but it is not actually as it takes years to implement major changes in environment policy. The paper explains in particular the current challenging change of perspective of OSPAR regarding the implementation of a risk based approach for the management of Produced Water - a formal measure being expected to be adopted by mid 2011 -, the threat caused by the OSPAR Recommendation on offshore chemicals to be substituted by 2017, and the significant threat that the MSFD poses on seismic activities, in relation with the definition of GES on energy introduced into the water, which is linked to underwater noise. But it also develops a few other issues, less publicized (NORMs, the DRILLEX initiative, etc.). The potential impact of the measures to come may be huge (previous OSPAR measure on Produced Water cost a billion pounds to the North Sea Offshore industry) and it is important that the industry takes a role in the discussions to come.
In response to the Macondo disaster, the EU published Directive 2013/30/EU on the Safety of Offshore O&G Operations. The transposing legislation serves to implement a Major Accident Hazard control (Safety Case) regime, similar to that which has been in place in the North Sea since the Piper Alpha disaster in July 1988. Such Safety Case regimes, based broadly on that introduced in the UK North Sea following the Piper Alpha disaster, are aimed at preventing the (re)occurrence of Major Accidents in the Offshore O&G sector and reducing their consequences, should they occur. Ultimately, the objective is to have a regime in place, which is effective in reducing the risk associated with Major Accidents across Europe. The legislation places requirements on both the industry operators and the regulators. Whilst preventative arrangements can be operator and local asset specific (but aligning to industry best practice and the Directive/Legislation requirements), given the transboundary nature of potential consequences (e.g. major oil spill affecting highly sensitive environments) a more integrated, regional approach is required.
Almost all countries in the Mediterranean region have some form of offshore O&G operations and clearly, the situation is complex as not all form part of the EU. At the same time, the socio-economic and environmental sensitivities of the Mediterranean Sea are well recognised. This paper outlines the challenging steps of the implementation status of the Safety Directive across EU on the basis of experience & lessons learned by the Authors in assisting O&G Companies across several countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. The aim of the Paper is to present a Regional overview across the countries involved (EU, not EU, Accession EU) examining future trends for a sustainable development.
Following the Macondo disaster, a range of changes have been implemented in relation to how Major Accident Hazards (MAHs) are controlled. From a European context, most notable has been the issue and subsequent transposition into local legislation of the European Union (EU) Directive on the Safety of Offshore Oil and Gas Operations (Directive 2013/30/EU).
The European Commission has reacted to the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010 through a thorough analysis of existing standards adopted throughout the European Union. So, in the 2nd half of 2010, the "Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the safety of offshore prospection, exploration and production in the hydrocarbon sector" (Proposal) was issued; it will be almost certainly adopted during the first half of 2013 in the form of Directive. The field of application of the Proposal covers the territory of all the Member States and also assumes relevance for the European Economic Area (EEA) and the Energy Community. The adoption of the Proposal will have important implications in all EU Countries: separation between the Competent Authority and the Licensing Authority (in charge of issuing permits and licenses); issuing by the operators of a "Major Hazard Report" (MHR); attraction of competences in the energy market and security of environment by the EU Commission; separation from other activities of the offshore industry; unique system of strict liability. Dealing with safety, it should be noted another legal instrument is the Offshore Protocol, included in the Barcelona Convention and recently entered into force, that pays particular attention to pollution and environmental safeguards. In order to implement an European process of harmonization of technical standards, moreover it has been recently constituted an expert group, named "EU Offshore Oil & Gas Authorities Group", with the aim to provide advice and support to the European Commission on all technical matters pertaining to the offshore topics of oil and gas sector, both safety and environmental.