Press Releases

Industry programme to strengthen Arctic oil spill response


Tromsø, Norway – 26-January, 2012 – Members of the international oil industry have launched a collaborative effort to enhance Arctic oil spill response.

The International Association of Oil & Gas Producers (IOGP) today announced the formation of the Oil Spill Response Technology Joint Industry Programme ( JIP) at the Arctic Frontiers Conference in Tromsø, Norway. This collaborative research endeavour will expand industry knowledge of, and capabilities in, Arctic oil spill prevention and response. Nine major oil companies are sponsoring the programme: BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Eni, ExxonMobil, North Caspian Oil Company, Shell, Statoil, and Total.

“Prevention of oil spills is a priority for industry, as is the response to any spill that may occur. Spill response research is an aspect of the oil business for which collaboration is imperative. Working together in this four-year JIP increases knowledge and opportunities to test equipment, conduct field experiments and develop oil spill response technology”, says Programme Manager Joseph Mullin.

This is a continuation of the industry’s decades-long research and development for response in Arctic and cold weather conditions. The largest effort of its kind, the JIP has identified research projects to enhance industry capabilities and co-ordination in the area of Arctic oil spill response.

The JIP is realistic about the unique challenges needing to be addressed when considering Arctic operations. These include prolonged periods of darkness, extreme cold, distant infrastructure, presence of sea ice offshore and a higher cost of doing business. By working together, the JIP companies are ensuring the most efficient use of resources, funding and expertise to improve the technologies and methodologies for Arctic spill response.

Mullin added that, “In the last few decades, the oil and gas industry has made significant advances in Arctic spill prevention and response technology. We continue to further advance spill response knowledge and test new technology through joint industry projects such as this JIP that bring experts together. That is why we have made this major research commitment to support responsible Arctic exploration and development.”

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Through research and development, the JIP will make advances in dispersant use, in situ burning, mechanical recovery, and remote sensing in Arctic conditions. The JIP will also assemble an extensive information base to improve decision-making and the preparation of environmental impact assessments related to Arctic conditions. Work will involve several experimental controlled-oil releases in the field to verify research results. These field experiments will be contingent upon permitting approval from relevant authorities. Such verification of countermeasure techniques is essential for obtaining approvals from regulators and stakeholders for new Arctic exploration and development activities.

About IOGP:

IOGP’s members include most of the world’s leading publicly-traded, private and state-owned oil & gas companies, oil & gas associations (such as the American Petroleum Institute and Oil & Gas UK), trade associations (such as the International Association of Drilling Contractors) and major upstream service companies.

IOGP members produce more than half the world’s oil and about one third of its gas.

IOGP represents the upstream oil & gas industry before international regulators and legislators. From its headquarters in London, IOGP represents the industry in UN bodies including the International Maritime Organization and the Commission for Sustainable Development. IOGP also works with the World Bank

and with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). In addition, IOGP is accredited with a range of regional bodies. Among these are OSPAR, the Helsinki Commission and the Barcelona Convention. IOGP Brussels provides an essential conduit for advocacy and debate between the upstream industry and the European Union (EU). This involves regular contact with the European Commission and the European Parliament.

IOGP also helps members achieve continuous improvements in safety, health and environmental performance and in the engineering and operation of upstream ventures. IOGP’s extensive international membership brings with it a wealth of know-how, data and experience. IOGP committees manage the exchange and dissemination of this knowledge through publications and events around the world.

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