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Looking after the environment

Matthieu Delefosse screens for environmental impacts prior to activity in the North Sea.

Producing oil and gas in the Danish North Sea demands a variety of analysis and evaluations and it is Matthieu Delefosse, Environment Advisor in the Chemistry and Environment department, who has the responsibility to describe the potential environmental impact before an activity is carried out. - The ecosystem in the Danish North Sea is resilient; however it is the policy of Maersk Oil to produce oil and gas in a sustainable way. We have to comply with Danish and EU legislation, and we also have an obligation to ourselves as an environmentally responsible company, Matthieu Delefosse says. Prior to a planned drilling of exploration wells or construction of new pipelines, an EIA-screening – Environmental Impact Assessment – is carried out. Screening is required for small projects such as exploration wells /pipeline. A full EIA is a more comprehensive work and covers project from “cradle to grave” such as construction of new facilities. - We have planned three new exploration wells this year, and they all get a separate EIA-screening. When we are drilling close to German waters for instance, we operate close to an EU protected area (Dogger

Bank), and this needs to be specifically addressed. We have to be well prepared and consider the risks and also have the ability to respond to an oil spill situation, says Matthieu Delefosse. Significant Impact

But assessing the environmental impact isn’t easy: - There are usually some uncertainties on projects when we prepare our assessment. But we have to consider all the aspects of the project. We use prior experience, best available techniques, latest scientific knowledge, and we always ask ourselves: What if. And if there are unknowns, we generally take the worst case scenario, says Matthieu Delefosse. It is his experience that his colleagues care about the environment: - Absolutely. We want the environment to be a part of the projects right from the start. When we look at projects from a technical or economical view, we are also taking the environment into consideration. And I meet a lot of genuine interest for the environmental impacts among my colleagues, says Matthieu Delefosse. Spotting marine mammals

When we add a 3D structure to an otherwise barren area, it means a new habitat for some animals to grow on. - There are quite a lot of fish near the platforms. The production platforms create an ecosystem of their own which attract fish and protected species of marine mammals.

SafetyNews 2 2014  
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