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Emerging changes in environmental regulations in many Asian countries will significantly impact the petroleum industry. These changes include the implementation of more effective ambient air quality monitoring programs in many Asian countries, tightening of point source emission standards, and programs directed at vehicular emissions including changes to fuel specifications. This paper presents the current ambient air quality standards in selected Asian countries and highlights upcoming regulatory trends that will impact the industry. Case studies are presented for Hong Kong and the Philippines to demonstrate how these changes will be implemented in the next five years.
Vehicles are the largest contributor to urban air pollution. Hence, many regulatory programs focus on reducing vehicle emissions to improve air quality. Significant changes to fuel specifications, including the impact of region-wide reductions in fuel sulfur and benzene contents will be discussed. These changes will impact the petroleum industry, particularly in the refining sector. Measures that have been implemented to control vehicular emissions include the conversion of public transport vehicles to Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG). As LPG and liquefied natural gas (LNG) usage increases, particularly due to environmental considerations, strategic changes will be required in the petroleum industry to profitably manage this transition.
Air quality environmental legislation began in earnest with the implementation of the 1970 Clean Air Act (CAA) in the United States. This Act formalized the use of ambient air quality standards to develop air regulatory programs such as New Source Review rules for non-attainment areas and Prevention of Significant Deterioration rules for attainment areas, emission standards for industrial sources, "Best Available Control Technology" (BACT) requirements for pollution control equipment, and fuel specifications for the improvement of emissions from combustion sources.
In most cities, mobile sources combusting liquid fuels contribute over seventy percent of urban air pollution in the form of NOx, CO, and particulate matter. Hence, reductions in mobile source emissions are critical to improving air quality. Some of the reductions in mobile source emissions have come from better engine design, improved vehicle fuel efficiency (reducing the pollution per kilometer traveled) and the installation of efficient catalytic converters.
Tightening of fuel specifications has also contributed significantly to reductions in mobile source emissions. Since the 1970 CAA, fuel specifications have been evolving in the U.S. and in Europe. The 1995 U.S. Reformulated Gasoline Program and the Euro 2000 and Euro 2005 standards represent some of the most stringent requirements for mobile source fuels.
It is important to note that environmental requirements can be imposed by federal, state, local, and regional authorities, permit conditions, conditions imposed during the approval or planning process (e.g., environmental impact assessments), and lending institutions requirements imposed during the financing of a project such as World Bank guidelines. In this paper, we will focus on federal and lending institution requirements. State, local, and regional authority requirements, permit conditions, and EIA approval conditions are site specific and cannot be adequately covered in a paper of this nature. However, these requirements can be more stringent than the federal or lending institution requirements and can drive the decision making on a specific project.
Colorado public health officials have let oil and gas companies begin drilling and fracturing for fossil fuels at nearly 200 industrial sites across the state without first obtaining federally required permits that limit how much toxic pollution they can spew into the air. Air pollution control officials at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment allow the industry to emit hundreds of tons of volatile organic chemicals, cancer-causing benzene, and other pollutants using an exemption tucked into the state's voluminous rules for the industry--rules that former Gov. John Hickenlooper, state leaders, and industry officials long have hailed as the toughest in the nation. They rely on this 27-year-old state exemption to give oil and gas companies 90 days to pollute, then assess what they need from Colorado regulators before applying for the air permits that set limits on emissions from industrial sites. "It is a loophole that allows pollution at some of the times when the pollution is the most extreme," said US Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Denver, who chairs a congressional panel that oversees the Environmental Protection Agency. Colorado's practice may not be legal under the federal Clean Air Act.
Abstract Since the Paris Commission has taken its first measures regarding the discharge of produced water from offshore installations into the North Sea at the end of the 1970s, the provisional performance standard set at that time has remained unchanged. In fact that provisional performance standard (limiting the content of oil at 40 mg per litre of water discharged) was a challenge, and industry spent billions of $US to treat the billions of cubic meters of produced water which have been discharged since then. It led to the development of new treatment techniques, the prominent one being the hydrocyclones in the 1990s. Measures taken by OSPAR in 2000 regarding chemicals used and discharged offshore and in 2001 regarding the management of produced water dramatically changed the picture, giving an impetus to development of new techniques -some of which being now fully implemented-, to reconsider water management, shut-off techniques, and last but not least, re-injection, a technique which, for many reasons, has been less used in the North Sea than in other regions of the world. The global average oil content of the water discharged in the North Sea is significantly lower than the upper limit set by the regulators. Nevertheless, not only some installations still face serious difficulties to meet this old performance standard, but the measures taken by OSPAR at the beginning of the 2000s actually go far beyond that standard, create constraints on compounds in produced water other than aliphatic hydrocarbons, and development of new technologies as well as a review of the approach of the operators of produced water treatment and disposal routes need to be dramatically reconsider. Introduction Production of oil in the North Sea started at the beginning of the 1970s. Production of associated water started a few years later. It led the Convention for the prevention of marine pollution from land-based sources (known as Paris Convention or PARCOM) to agree as early as 1978 a "Provisional Target Standard of 40 ppm for Discharges from Offshore Oil Installations", a target standard reiterated in 1986. That year, the total annual quantity of oil discharged through produced water was roughly 2 000 tonnes (OSPAR source) (1). At the same time discharge of oil associated to the discharge of drill cuttings contaminated by oil-base muds was twelve times higher. The measure taken by Parcom was expressed in simple words: "After discussion, the Commission agreed to recommend to Contracting Parties that a standard of 40 mg/l for the average concentration of hydrocarbons in effluents discharged from platforms should be applied to all platforms constructed after 1 January 1988. It is expected that emission standards for individual platforms would be set at or below this level. Where this is not done, the Contracting Party setting the emission standard shall inform the Commission and give reasons for its decision." (2). That performance standard for "dispersed" oil in produced water, although clarified since then, globally remained unchanged until today. At least at international level, as individual states, according to the Convention, are endeavoured to take tougher measures should they wish so. During the past two decades, the quantity of produced water significantly increased, while the quantity of oily cuttings continuously decreased and even ceased. In 2003 the annual gross production of the North Sea was 489 millions toeq, while the volume of water produced was 478 million m3, out of which 419 million m3 were discharged (see Remark 1, at the end) (3)(4). The related amount of oil discharged was 8015 t, a quantity which represented that year more than 90% of the total amount of oil discharged to the sea by exploration and production (E&P) activities.