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Environmental Impact of the Offshore Oil and Gas Industry by Stanislav Patin - a unique summary of world-wide studies on the environmental issues associated with offshore oil and gas exploration and development

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Muddied Waters

A Survey of Offshore Oilfield Drilling Wastes and Disposal Techniques to Reduce the Ecological Impact of Sea Dumping

by Jonathan Wills, M.A., Ph.D., M.Inst.Pet., for Ekologicheskaya Vahkta Sakhalina (Sakhalin Environment Watch); 25th May 2000


  1. "A Core Value"
    Author biography
    List of Abbreviations

  2. Summary of Conclusions
    Zero-discharges - a Personal View
  3. Drilling Waste Streams from Offshore Oil and Gas Installations
    The Public Domain Problem
    Terminology and the Obfuscating Euphemism
  4. The Law on Offshore Wastes Discharges in Different Jurisdictions
    The OSPAR Convention
    United Kingdom
    United States

    Inviting Regulation
  5. Environmental Effects of Drilling Waste Discharges
    The SBM Controversy
    "Non-Water Quality Environmental Impacts"

    Drill Cuttings
    Produced Water
  6. Minimising Waste Discharges and Their Effects
    Re-injection Offshore
    Cleaning Up Produced Water Streams

    Summary List of Main Sources
  7. Selected References

  8. Appendices
    Appendix 1. Total number of offshore installations in the OSPAR Convention's maritime area, 1984-1998

    2. Use of water-based and alternative drilling fluids in 1998 (OSPAR countries)

    3. Total number of wells drilled, number of wells drilled with oil-based muds (OBM) and number of wells drilled with water-based muds (WBM), 1993 / 1996 / 1998

    4. Total discharges of oil from offshore installations to the OSPAR Convention's maritime area, 1981-1998 (tonnes)

    5. Oil discharges as proportions from each source, OSPAR area, 1981-1998

    6. Discharges per "source" and per country (expressed as a percentage of each country's total discharges), 1998

    7. Quantities of oil discharged via cuttings (in tonnes), 1984-1998

    8. Oil discharged in displacement and production water (in tonnes), 1982-1998

    9. Number of installations with discharges exceeding the 40 mg oil/l target standard, 1981-1998

    10. Number of installations exceeding the 40 mg oil/l target standard - by Contracting Party, 1995-1998

    11. OSPAR List of Substances/Compounds Liable to Cause Taint

    12. OSPAR List of Substances / Preparations Used and Discharged Offshore which Are Considered to Pose Little or No Risk to the Environment (PLONOR)

    13. OSPAR Guidelines for Completing the Harmonised Offshore Chemical Notification Format (HOCNF), as proposed by SEBA, 2000.

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"A Core Value"
Author biography
List of Abbreviations

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