Ireland is one of 16 contracting parties to the 1992 OSPAR Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North East Atlantic. In the area of Offshore activities, adverse impact on the marine environment arising from offshore oil and gas activity was considered to be potentially high. Many years of guidance from organisations such as OSPAR have now substantially reduced the hazards, and consequently also the risk of adverse impact. As an OSPAR contracting party, Ireland has a responsibility to adopt, and comply with, programmes and measures for reduction of environmental impact from Offshore Oil and Gas activity.
The areas of responsibility for Ireland include:
- Radioactive Discharges, Assessment and Monitoring, Offshore and Sea-Based Activities.
- Discharges from Point and Diffuse Sources including Hazardous Substances
- Atmospheric and Riverine Inputs, Nutrients and Eutrophication
The Marine Institute provides technical advice to the Petroleum Affairs Division of the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources , underpinning environmental regulation and supporting sound environmental practices in the offshore oil and gas sector. Specifically, the Marine Institute
- Assesses chemicals/substances proposed for use in drilling, maintenance and production, for the potential to cause environmental impact (in accordance with OSPAR Harmonised Mandatory Control System)
- Ranks chemicals in order of hazard potential (according to data from the OSPAR Harmonised Offshore Chemicals Notification Format)
- Advises operators on alternative chemicals/substances for use in cases where potential for environmental damage is deemed excessive
- Provides advice on technical aspects of monitoring programmes for offshore installation or points of discharge
- Assesses results of monitoring programmes in order to detect adverse impacts
- Compiles data for the Annual OSPAR Report on Discharges, Spills and Emissions from Offshore Oil and Gas Installations
- Provides observations on applications for surveys
- Plans for future drilling rig and production platform inspections of produced water and use / discharge of oil-field chemicals.
For further information, please contact Margot Cronin.