Africa (Sub-Sahara) Bowleven began drilling operations at its Zingana exploration well on the Bomono permit in Cameroon. Located 20 km northwest of Douala, Cameroon's largest city, the well will target a Paleocene (Tertiary) aged, three-way dip closed fault block. The company plans to drill the well to a depth of 2000 m and will then spud a second well in Moambe, 2 km east of Zingana. Bowleven is the operator and holds 100% interest in the license. Asia Pacific China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC) has brought its Dongfang 1-1 gas field Phase I adjustment project on line ahead of schedule. The field is located in the Yinggehai basin of the Beibu Gulf in the South China Sea and has an average water depth of 70 m. The field is currently producing 53 MMcf/D of gas and is expected to reach its peak production of 54 MMcf/D before the end of the year.
This paper aims to grasp how the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is implemented for offshore oil and gas developments in five countries advancing in this industry and to help EIA practitioners to develop and review EIA reports for marine resource developments. For this purpose, we reviewed the legislative literature, analyzed EIA reports prepared in the field, and interviewing EIA practitioners. Our results found the similarities and the differences in EIA methodologies, environmental impacts subject to assessment, and management measures by country as well as by project phase. Consistency among the five countries can be an effective reference for any marine resource developments regardless of the country.
In Japan, we expect a growing potential of offshore oil and gas developments in its territorial sea and its continental shelf as related technologies have been innovated and improved. However, we have few experiences in assessment of environmental impacts in this area since a legal procedure of Environmental Impact Assessment (hereinafter referred as to “EIA”) is not required for such developments. Recently there has been a growing global recognition that it is important to consider and verify that significant environmental impacts are unlikely to occur in advance of the commencement of a project. Therefore, we conducted this study in order to examine how EIA for offshore oil and gas developments should be implemented so that the results will surely help ministries and related firms in Japan to review and develop EIA reports for such developments in the future.
The main purpose of this study was to examine 1) what assessment methods are generally used; 2) what types of environmental impacts and how these are identified and determined; and 3) what types of mitigation measures are commonly planned to be implemented. In this study, we specially focused on describing what characteristics and differences can be seen by country, by project phase (exploration, drilling, development & production, and decommissioning) and by water depth.
Furthermore, in addition to the original purpose, we believe that our findings could contribute to the examination of how EIA should be implemented for developments of marine resources other than oil and gas.