Evironmental impact of extraction

Evironmental impact of extraction

August 20, 2013

Norut is participating in a major ENI project to map the environmental impact of petroleum extraction in the Barents Sea.

The project takes as its starting point the regulations relating to zero harmful discharges in the Barents Sea and will study the application of this in relation to the actual waste material from the petroleum extraction. The biological impacts of the various deposit forms of drill cuttings/drilling mud and the use of chemicals will be mapped.

The social science study will evaluate alternative deposit forms from both an economic and social perspective. The new research project has a budget of NOK 30 million.

Norut scientists Heidi Rapp Nilsen and Mette Ravn Midtgard (pictured) will participate in the project’s social science part.

“The objective is to contribute to more effective environmental decision making in the Barents Sea,” says Ravn Midtgard.

Among the overall research goals are how the regulations for the handling of drill cuttings and drilling mud have come into effect, and the appropriateness and legitimacy of this.

The scientists also ask whether new methods may be found based on new knowledge, new technology and new cost-benefit analyses. Experiences from the debate about sea tailings deposit and mining operations will be included in the analysis.

“Norut will compile a new cost-benefit analysis of alternative waste management regimes from offshore activities,” says Ravn Midtgard.

The project partners are the University of Tromsø and Akvaplan-Niva.

ENI Norge engages in exploration, production, transport, refining and marketing of oil and gas and has participating interests in three principal areas on the Norwegian shelf – the North Sea, the Norwegian Sea and the Barents Sea.

John Eirik Paulsen, Environmental Advisor at ENI Norge, says the research project will provide the company with useful results.

“Research and development projects are important for us. We are reliant on building competence about Arctic areas. The handling of drilling waste in the High North is not sufficiently well developed,” says Paulsen.

“It is also important for us to contribute funding towards the education of new labour to fill positions in the oil industry of tomorrow. At the same time, we are contributing to making preparations so academia makes contact with the supplier industry and can take part in the knowledge the industry has acquired.”