Chemistry in the Oil Industry VII: Performance in a Challenging Environment

Chemistry in the Oil Industry VII: Performance in a Challenging Environment


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This book is the latest in a series of respected volumes that provides an up-to-date review of some of the major chemistry topics related to the oil and gas industry. Divided into four sections, it looks in turn at the latest developments in environmental issues, new technology, applications and flow assurance. This reflects the increasingly important role for chemical technologies in offshore, deep water and challenging environments, allied to developments of low environmental impact chemistry. Regulatory strategies are also discussed, from both the governmental and operational perspective. Overall, Chemistry in the Oil Industry VII presents the latest information on developments in the modern oil industry, which will have an impact on future cost-effectiveness and efficiency. It will be a valuable resource for professionals and consultants within the industry, as well as government agencies and laboratory staff.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780854048618
Publisher: Royal Society of Chemistry, The
Publication date: 06/28/2002
Series: Special Publications Series , #280
Pages: 300
Product dimensions: 6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 0.89(d)

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Chemistry in the Oil Industry VII

Performance in a Challenging Environment

By T. Balson, H.A. Craddock, J. Dunlop, H. Frampton, G. Payne, P. Reid

The Royal Society of Chemistry

Copyright © 2002 The Royal Society of Chemistry
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-85404-861-8



L.R. Henriquez

State Supervision of Mines, Ministry of Economic Affairs, P.O. Box 8, 2270 AA Voorburg, The Netherlands


Since the 1970s there has been a major concern by the public in general regarding the potential pollution of the North Sea marine environment by discharges of chemicals used in the offshore Oil Exploration and Production Industry (E&P).

In 1974 most of the North Sea countries experiencing these offshore activities signed the Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from land based sources (the so-called Paris Convention) which came into force in 1978. However the policy applied by the countries party to this convention about the prevention of pollution by the use and discharge of offshore chemicals until recently did suffer from harmonisation. For the discharge will take place in the same North Sea and consequently the potential pollution due to these discharges does not have boundaries.

First steps towards harmonisation started in 1985 with discussions about protocols how to carry out toxicity testing, for there was a lack in seawater tests. Ring tests carried on toxicity and biodegradability of offshore chemicals resulted in harmonised test protocols accepted by all countries party to the 1978 Paris Convention. This resulted in 1995 in the acceptance by all parties of the Harmonised Offshore Chemical Notification Format (HOCNF 1995). This format contains all necessary information for the assessment and evaluation of offshore chemicals prior their use and discharge.

Meanwhile a risk based approach for the assessment and evaluation of the use and discharge of offshore chemicals became a more important instrument. At the 4th International Conference on the Protection of the North Sea, the Ministers agreed to invite Paris Commission to adopt a Harmonised Mandatory Control System (HMCS). This should be adopted if possible at the Paris Commission Meeting in 1996, taking into account of the Chemical Hazard Assessment and Risk Management (CHARM).

This resulted in the PARCOM Decision 96/3 on a Harmonised Mandatory Control System for the Use and Reduction on the Discharge of Offshore Chemicals having the HOCNF as an Annex to the decision.

In 1998, a new convention, called the Convention for the protection of the marine environment of the North - East Atlantic, succeeded the 1978 Paris Convention. All decisions taken by Contracting Parties to this so-called 1998 OSPAR Convention shall have binding force. Consequently, the PARCOM Decision 96/3 had to be adapted to the new binding condition, which resulted in 2000 in a new OSPAR Decision 2000/2 on HMCS. This paper gives an overview of this new decision and the latest developments with regard its implementation within the framework of the OSPAR Convention.


The OSPAR Convention entered into force on 25 March 1998. It replaces the OSLO and PARIS Conventions of 1978. The Convention has been signed and ratified by all contracting parties (15 countries including the EU) to the last mentioned conventions and by Luxembourg and Switzerland.

The long-term objective of the OSPAR Convention is to prevent and eliminate pollution and to protect the maritime area against the adverse effects of human activities so as to safeguard human health and to conserve marine ecosystems, where practicable, restore marine areas which have been adversely affected. For that, the OSPAR Commission will take all necessary measures to realise that objective. Contracting Parties to the Convention shall adopt programmes and measures which contain, where appropriate, time – limits for their completion. They should also take full account of the use of the latest technological developments (Best Available Techniques or BAT) and practices (Best Environmental Practice or BEP) designed to prevent and eliminate pollution fully.

In 1998, the OSPAR Commission adopted the OSPAR Strategy with regard to Hazardous Substances (Reference number: 1998 – 16) and in 1999 the OSPAR Strategy on Environmental Goals and Management Mechanisms for Offshore Activities (Reference number: 1999 – 12; the Offshore Strategy).

These strategies led to the new OSPAR Decision 2000/2 on a Harmonised Mandatory Control System for the Use and Reduction of the Discharge of Offshore Chemicals.

2.1 Framework of the OSPAR Convention

The OSPAR Convention also establishes the OSPAR Commission to administer the Convention and to develop policy and international agreements in this field. The Commission is supported by an International secretariat based in London. Information about the OSPAR Convention, the organisation and the OSPAR Secretariat can be found on the following website:

All official documents of the OSPAR Commission as the OSPAR Strategies, decisions, recommendations and agreements, can also be downloaded from the fore mentioned website.

2.2 Organisation – Committees and Working Groups of the OSPAR Commission

In 2000 OSPAR examined proposals for a new working structure and working procedures and agreed to retain the second tier Environmental Assessment and Monitoring Committee (ASMO), and to establish second tier Committees for each of the five OSPAR Strategies. OSPAR 2000 adopted net Terms of Reference for ASMO and Terms of Reference for the five strategy Committees, i.e. the Offshore Industry Committee or OIC.

The function of OIC is to facilitate the implementation of the OSPAR Strategy on Environmental Goals and Management Mechanisms for Offshore Activities (Reference number 1999-12) by the OSPAR Commission. In accordance with the OSPAR Action Plan, OIC shall:

• Identify the environmental pressures and their impact on the marine environment.

• Assess the effectiveness of programmes and measures and the need for and scope of further action.

• Develop the basis for programmes and measures.

• Develop programmes and measures.

• Assess the implementation of programmes and measures by Contracting Parties.

2.3 OSPAR Convention Mechanism

In Appendix 1 of this paper, a schematic view of the mechanism established by the OSPAR Convention is shown. The long-term objective and guiding principles are the basis for the strategies, i.e. the Offshore Strategy. This strategy, explained later in this paper, contains a management mechanism for setting goals and establishing programmes and measures to ensure the achievement of these goals within a specific timeframe. Goals should comply with the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time limited) principles. The OSPAR Commission adopt programmes (plans) and measures, i.e. decisions or recommendations, to realise the goals. Contracting Parties should implement the programmes and measures in the national laws and regulations to ensure that the goals are met. Contracting Parties, on a yearly basis, should also report the progress of implementing these programmes and measures. If necessary, the OSPAR Commission decides on the actions to ensure a continuous improvement of the performance about the achievement of its overall long-term objective.


3.1 Objective

The objective of the OSPAR Strategy with regard to hazardous substances is to prevent pollution of the maritime area by continuously reducing discharges, emissions and losses of hazardous substances as defined in Annex 1 of the Strategy. The ultimate aim is achieving concentrations in the marine environment near background values for naturally occurring substances and close to zero for man-made synthetic substances. At the Ministerial Meeting of the OSPAR Commission at Sintra in 1998 it was also agreed to make every endeavour to move towards the target of cessation of discharges, emissions and losses of hazardous substances by the year 2020 and adoption of this strategy in order to make this agreement operational.

3.2 Definitions

For the purpose of this Strategy, hazardous substances have been defined to be substances or groups of substances that are toxic, persistent and liable to bioaccumulate. The OSPAR Commission may also categorise other substances or group of substances as hazardous substances. Even if these substances do not meet all the criteria for toxicity, persistence and bioaccumulation, but which give rise to an equivalent level of concern.

The Strategy also defines substances and group of substances and toxicity. Toxicity is defined as the capacity of a substance to cause toxic effects, to organisms or their progeny such as:

a. a reduction in survival, growth and reproduction;

b. carcinogenicity, mutagenicity or teratogenicity;

c. adverse effects as result of endocrine disruption.

Description of other definitions like persistent, bioaccumulation, bioconcentration, risk assessment, exposure assessment, hazard identification, dose – response assessment, risk characterisation and endocrine disruptor are also presented in the glossary of the Strategy (Annex 5).

3.3 Guiding principles

The OSPAR Hazardous Substance Strategy will use principles like the precautionary principle and the polluter pays principle as a guide. The application of Best Available Techniques (BAT) and Best Environmental Practice (BEP) should also be promoted when dealing with hazardous substances. In addition, the principle of substitution, i.e. the substitution of hazardous substances by less hazardous substances or preferably non-hazardous substances, where such alternatives are available, is a mean to reach this objective.

3.4 Strategy of OSPAR with regard to Hazardous Substances

Based on the strategy programmes and measures will be developed to identify, prioritise, monitor and control (i.e., to prevent and/or reduce and/or eliminate) the emissions, discharges and losses of hazardous substances which reach, or could reach, the marine environment. To this end, the OSPAR Commission will complete the development of a dynamic selection and prioritisation mechanism. In Annex 2 of the OSPAR Hazardous Substances Strategy, a list of chemicals for priority action has been agreed upon initially at Sintra in 1998. Meanwhile this list has been up-dated at the last OSPAR Commission Meeting in Valencia in 2001 (Reference number 2001-2). The OSPAR Commission also discussed cut-off Values for the selection criteria used in the initial selection procedure of the OSPAR Dynamic Selection and Prioritisation Mechanism for Hazardous Substances.

3.5 Cut off values

At its Commission Meeting in Valencia (25–29 June 2001) OSPAR agreed on cut-off values for the intrinsic properties of individual substance (Reference Number: 2001-1). These are specifically whether the substances are persistent (P), toxic (T) or liable to bioaccumulate (B), which determine whether these substances fall within the definition of hazardous substances given in the OSPAR Hazardous Substances Strategy. These PTB criteria are used for selecting substances in the initial selection procedure of the dynamic selection and prioritisation mechanism. The cut-off values are as follows:

Persistent (P): Half-life (T½) of 50 days and

Liability to Bioaccumulate (B): log Pow > = 4 or BCF > = 500 and

Toxicity (T) Taq: acute L(E)C50 = <1 mg/l, long-term NOEC = <0,1 mg/l

or Tmammalian: CMR or chronic

By applying these values OSPAR will continue to select substances for priority action in coming years in order to meet its objective by 2020.


4.1 Objective

To achieve the general objective of the OSPAR Convention, the aim of the Offshore Strategy is to set environmental goals for the offshore oil and gas industry and to establish of improved management mechanisms to prevent and eliminate pollution. If necessary to take measures to protect the maritime area against adverse effects of offshore activities so as to safeguard human health and to conserve marine ecosystems and, when practicable, restore marine areas which have been adversely affected.

Other OSPAR Strategies, like the Hazardous Substances Strategy, apply in so far as they relate to offshore activities.

4.2 Guiding principles

Besides the other mentioned guiding principles the Offshore Strategy is also referring to the application of the principle of sustainable development and principles agreed in the new Annex V of the OSPAR Convention on Biological Diversity (Biodiversity). Waste management should be based on the application of the hierarchy of avoidance, reduction, re-use, recycling, recovery, and residue disposal (the 5 R's hierarchy).

4.3 General process of establishing goals and measures

In addition to work in hand, the OSPAR Commission will establish and periodically review environmental goals and timeframes for achieving the objective of this strategy. These goals should be in measurable terms, wherever practicable, in order to facilitate monitoring. To this end, the Commission by its Ministerial Meeting in 2003 will take the following intermediate steps:

(i) establish environmental goals, and, where appropriate, intermediate goals, in respect of prevention and elimination of pollution from offshore sources;

(ii) provide for the machinery required for implementing and enforcing any programme or measure adopted under this strategy.

The Commission with the support of the Contracting Parties concerned will promote the development and implementation by the offshore industry of environmental management mechanisms. These mechanisms should include elements for auditing and reporting, which are designed to achieve both continuous improvements in environmental performance and the environmental goals referred to here above.

4.4 Implementation of the Offshore Strategy

The strategy will be implemented and developed under the OSPAR Commission's Action Plan, which will establish priorities, assign tasks, and set deadlines to make the best use of resources. The Action Plan will concentrate on those offshore activities identified as being of greatest concern to the marine environment like:

• the use and discharge of hazardous substances, consistent with the OSPAR Hazardous Substances Strategy;

• discharges of oil and other chemicals in water and from well operations.

The implementation of the Offshore Strategy will be through the developing of programmes and measures by the Commission. The following programmes and measures have already been adopted for the above mentioned priority issues.


Excerpted from Chemistry in the Oil Industry VII by T. Balson, H.A. Craddock, J. Dunlop, H. Frampton, G. Payne, P. Reid. Copyright © 2002 The Royal Society of Chemistry. Excerpted by permission of The Royal Society of Chemistry.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents

Environmental Issues; New Technology; Applications; Flow Assurance; Subject Index.

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