Environmental Risk Assessment and monitoring technologies

The management of offshore oil & gas activities is strongly committed to avoid harm to the environment and to leave a minimal footprint. This management is risk based. Tools to assess the risk and the actual impacts have been developed and are being further adapted as new challenges are continuously emerging (e.g. regarding produced water, drilling discharges, cuttings, treatment methods, subsea installations, pipelines, arctic environments, deep sea, corals and sponges, EOR chemicals, contingency planning, oil spill dispersants, biomarkers, real-time biomonitoring tools, etc.).

The Norwegian goal is to achieve “no harmful environmental effects”, yielding a strong drive towards increased understanding, scientific facts and tools. -  For twenty years IRIS Biomiljø has been in the forefront providing solutions to meet these R&D challenges.

Environmental Risk Assessment (ERA) is simple in principle, but highly complex in nature. Complex computer models are developed to calculate the risk. These are continuously refined and adapted to new situations and challenges. IRIS Environment has both contributed to the making of the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS) standard tools for Environmental Risk Assessment and we are applying these tools as an advanced research based environmental service for the oil and gas industry in Norway and internationally.

Key words: DREAM, EIF, Produced Water, Drilling discharges, Deep-sea and Arctic, Oil spill contingency.

An important part of Risk Mangement is to monitor that the actual impact is as predicted and accepted based on the Risk Assessment. Since the overall Norwegian environmental goal makes relation to biological/ecological effects, much effort is made to develop Biomonitoring technologies. As with ERA these are also continuously refined and adapted to new situations and challenges of the offshore industry. IRIS Environment has also been in the forefront to develop and implement biomonitoring tools on the NCS, and some of these methods are today mandatory in the biological effect and resource monitoring. IRIS Environment also applies these tools as an advanced research based environmental service for the oil and gas industry.
Key words: Biomonitoring, Biomarkers, Water column monitoring, Real-time Biosensors, Proteomics, Deep sea Landers and AUVs, Ecosystem impacts.

Both in the case of ERA and of Biomonitoring it is part of IRIS Environment’s strategy to contribute to internationalization of these methods developed and implemented in Norway. It is based on Norway’s leading expertise and environmental focus in offshore oil and gas development and adapted to local conditions.  At present, the most strongly focused topics where IRIS Biomiljø contributes to develop ERA and Biomonitoring solutions offshore are related to:
  • Deep sea challenges / corals and sponges,
  • Arctic oil spill contingency / adapted monitoring technology
  • Treatment of oil based drilling discharges / safe disposal offshore
  • Produced water assessment / management
  • Ecosystem based management / ecologically relevant monitoring