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3 Year plane

International Offshore Petroleum Environmental Regulators 

Tuesday 29th – Wednesday 30th October 2019 – Washington D.C. 

 

Communique  

IOPER CONTINUES FOCUS ON ENHANCED ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT OF THE OFFSHORE OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY  

The International Offshore Petroleum Environmental Regulators (IOPER) held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Washington D.C. from 29th to 30th October 2019. The AGM was chaired by the United Kingdom and attended by representatives of the United States of America, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Guyana and Ireland. Israel attended as an observer.   

The AGM discussed common issues, shared emerging concerns and good practices amongst the jurisdictions, including topics covering decommissioning, noise and source control. The International Association of Geophysical Contractors (IAGC) and the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (IOGP) attended an industry engagement session and gave an update of their environmental initiatives and future plans. 

 

Three working groups provided updates on their intersessional efforts.   

Oil Spill Preparedness and Response - Members supported the continuation of the working group. The group is nearing the end of its focus on source control, which included a dedicated session, attended by industry and regulatory stakeholders, to explore oil spill source control as part of the triennial oil spill conference (SpillCon). The members recognized good progress in promoting consistency in source control planning and were encouraged by IOGP’s work on the subject. 

It was agreed to further engage in conjunction with the International Oil Spill Conference (IOSC2020.org). Attention will then turn towards exploring regulators role in the exercise and testing of operators’ oil spill response preparedness in 2020 

Marine Sound – The Marine Sound Working Group was established in 2016. The group reflected on activities undertaken to date and discussed priorities, procedures and a draft Terms of Reference. At the AGM, members discussed recent progress in acoustic research and a work plan. The Terms of Reference were discussed and agreed. The US (BOEM) will chair the working group for the next two years.  

Environmental Performance Indicators - The working group presented a summary of the last three years’ initiatives on hydrocarbon spills and produced water discharges from five jurisdictions with a view to allow comparison between countries in the form of environmental performance indicators. The study concluded that the significant differences in how data are collected and normalized between countries meant that meaningful comparison would not be possible without significant administrative and/or legislative changes. IOPER members are considering whether the working group should redirect its energies into researching how regulators could measure the effectiveness of their regulatory activities using a more outcome-based approach.   

 2020 Annual General Meeting will be held in Perth, WA, in October 2020. 

 Communique

International Offshore Petroleum Environmental Regulators  

3rd and 4th May 2018 – Houston                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

IOPER CONTINUES FOCUS ON ENHANCED ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT OF THE OFFSHORE OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY 

The International Offshore Petroleum Environmental Regulators (IOPER) held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Houston, Texas on the 3rd and 4th May 2018. The AGM was hosted by the United Kingdom and attended by representatives of the United States of America, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Mexico. Argentina’s Tierra del Fuego and Ireland attended as observers.  Discussions highlighted shared concerns and good practices amongst the countries, including:  environmental impacts of decommissioning, noise in the marine environment, sharing environmental alerts and maintaining environmental performance in offshore operations. 

Three working groups provided updates on their intersessional efforts.  

Environmental Performance Indicators - The working group continues to consider options for collating and comparing environmental performance indicator data for different jurisdictions in order to raise awareness and identify areas for improvement.   

Oil Spill Response - Members supported the continuation of the working group, with a focus on source control and oil spill treatment at source.  In conjunction with SpillCon 2019, the working group intends to engage with industry and other regulators via a workshop on these topics given recent advances in technology and continual improvement.   

Marine Sound – Following a presentation on the work group’s activities, members agreed to hold a regulator’s seminar and to discuss best practices associated with marine sound.    

The meeting featured an update by each country on current topics of interest for their jurisdiction.  Topical discussions highlighted various means of enforcing compliance and examining effectiveness, research priorities – with emphasis on decommissioning and marine sound, and potential areas of collaboration. 

The group agreed on an approach to long term planning that will facilitate member engagement.  Members also agreed to implement an information and outreach strategy, including the posting of periodic topical articles on the IOPER website.  

In addition, the IOPER considered the issue of flaring associated with offshore petroleum production operations. While members observed that modern practices have generally resulted in flaring of  associated gas being limited to safety purposes in their jurisdictions, IOPER members noted that in some areas there is always room for improvement. 

Australia presented information provided by the World Bank outlining the Zero Routine Flaring initiative aimed at ending the practice of flaring as a matter of routine operations by 2030. The initiative involves Governments, Companies and Development Institutions committing to progress arrangements to end the practice of routine flaring. Many IOPER member governments and companies that operate in IOPER jurisdictions have already committed to the initiative. IOPER members agreed to share information about the initiative within their jurisdictions. 

For more information on the World Bank Zero Routine Flaring Initiative:  

www.worldbank.org/zeroroutineflaring 

 

Marine Sound Work Group  - The Hague – 9th September 2018 

The understanding, management, and regulation of anthropogenic sound, or human-made noise, in the marine environment is a critical and challenging goal for all ocean users, especially given that many activities important to national security and economic development involve significant sound production (e.g., military training exercises, offshore energy development, commercial shipping). Governments, academia, environmental organizations, industries and other stakeholders have made strides in better understanding the effects of anthropogenic sound on marine life and, to a lesser degree, in how to monitor and mitigate its effects.  However, given the breadth and depth of this issue and the scientific and regulatory uncertainty that still remains in many areas, it is important that the management of anthropogenic sound and its impacts on marine life be addressed collaboratively at the international level. 

Recognizing the far-reaching aspects of this complex environmental issue, the International Offshore Petroleum Environmental Regulators (IOPER) has identified sound and its effects on marine life as a priority topic for collaborative consideration, specifically as it relates to sound sources involved in oil and gas exploration and production. Further, the IOPER has created an internal, technically-driven Marine Sound Working Group (MSWG) to investigate, discuss and identify specific areas where IOPER members could collaborate and/or develop best practices.

  

 Sharing Better Regulatory Practice

NOPSEMA hosted a series of informal regulatory exchange sessions in the week preceding Spillcon 2019 at their offices in Perth, WA. IOPER members were invited to join in exploration of priority issue areas in order to:

  • Present jurisdictional compliance challenges
  • Share approaches taken and successes / learnings
  • Exchange regulatory process and supporting materials

Each session was led by a nominated jurisdiction with opportunity for each jurisdiction to informally share their own experience, question and explore areas of interest, followed by an opportunity to exchange regulatory good practice (inspection tools / guidelines etc) amongst those interested.  

Topics discussed were –

Regulating oil spill preparedness and response: Inspecting / Auditing Oil Spill Response Providers;

Regulating oil spill preparedness and response: Scope of emergency exercises - The role of the regulator in testing industry response plans;

Regulating oil spill preparedness and response: Scope of emergency exercises - The role of the regulator in testing industry response plans;

Regulating oil spill preparedness and response: The role of government in oversight, actual oil spill response and ensuring adequate response from operators;

Environmental aspects of decommissioning around re-use, re-purposing, rigs to reefs etc and what policies others have in place and

Environment Performance Indicators.

 

IOPER AGM July 2017 – Santa Barbara, California 

The 2017 AGM was hosted by BOEM and held in Santa Barbara.  All jurisdictions presented an update on IOPER-related activities. Discussion topics included: 

Impact of Low Oil Prices

Environmental Performance Indicators

Marine Sound Working Group

Oil Spill Financial Assurance

Effective Compliance Enforcement Research Project 

Oil Spill Preparedness and Response Topics

Environmental Impact Research Priorities

and ended with a Science Symposium on the Environmental Impacts of Decommissioning.

 

IOPER Annual General Meeting - July 2016

The 2016 IOPER Annual General Meeting will be held in Dublin, Ireland on July 15-16 in conjunction with the 4th International Conference on the Effects of Noise on Aquatic Life (www.an2016.org/)

IOPER Mid-Year Meeting - May 2016

The IOPER 2016 mid-year meeting will include a focus on the priority issue of oil spill preparedness and track progress on important IOPER work program items including establishing environmental performance indicators to enable offshore petroleum jurisdictions to benchmark and compare performance. Members will meet in conjunction with the triennial oil spill conference series, Spillcon (www.spillcon.com) in Perth, Australia. IOPER members will also be meeting jointly with industry representative bodies and companies to discuss oil spill preparedness principles and explore the opportunities for establishing clearer benchmarks for ‘appropriate preparedness levels’.

IOPER Annual General Meeting - October 2015

The IOPER Annual General Meeting was held in Washington D.C in October 2015 and was co-located with the biennial International Regulators Forum Conference (www.irfoffshoresafety.com).

IOPER AGM 2014

Members of IOPER progressed discussions on key issues facing regulators and made good progress on a number of key priority issues at the 2014 annual general meeting in Cancun, Mexico. The meeting was hosted by IOPER’s newest member - the Mexican offshore petroleum regulator, National Agency for Safety, Energy and Environment of Mexico (ASEA).  IOPER members met to provide updates and discuss emerging issues in their jurisdiction. A refinement of IOPER’s work program was also agreed to focus on 5 key priority issue areas:

  • Environment Performance Indicators
  • Regulating Oil Spill Preparedness and Response
  • Public Consultation and Decision Making
  • Environmental Impact Research Collaboration Opportunities
  • Enforcement Tool Research

       

The meeting also featured updates from each country on current topics of interest for their jurisdiction.  Topical discussions highlighted increased societal interest in offshore petroleum activities, measuring regulators effectiveness in monitoring and enforcing compliance, sharing progress in addressing research priorities, source control and decommissioning. 

The group will maintain long term planning that will facilitate member engagement and will proceed with an information and outreach strategy, including the posting of periodic topical articles on the IOPER website. 

  

 

 

 

  

 
 

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