Oil and Gas Exploration

These texts effectively describe the heavy and viscous residue which remains when petroleum reaches the earth,s surface and loses its lighter fractions as a result of natural evaporation. This residue has many uses, in particular the caulking of ships. Over the centuries up until the dawn of the modern era petroleum was used for the two other important uses: as a medicine it was considered a panacea. The ailments which it was supposed to cure numerous: scurvy, gout, toothache, rheumatism, even in growing toenails.

The methods which were used in the earlier centuries to manufacture kerosene from crude oil were rudimentary. The distillation techniques practiced at that time allowed the heavy fractions to be separated and used as lubricants but part of the crude was deliberately discarded, environmental constraints were not yet what they were to become a century later. Increasing in the consumption of kerosene led to a rapid growth in the demand for crude oil. By the turn of the century oil lamps were being progressively placed by the electric light bulb, and the consumption Of kerosene began to decline.

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But declining demand for kerosene was offset by growing demand for petrol for cars, and later diesel. This was of course the time when the automobile industry was expanding. Sometime later the heavy fuel oil market became an important outlet for refining industry. Historical background The history of petroleum from 1859 up to about 1960 is inseparable from that Of the Oil of big companies which formed and grew rapidly in order to seek, produce, transform, transport, and sell this precious liquid. This first company come very large in the oil sector belonged to John D Rockefeller.

He initially headed up a wholesale business one of whose products was petroleum, and built the first refinery in Pennsylvania, then a second, progressively extending his activities to cover the entire range of activities of the burgeoning petroleum industry. He acted according to a number of simple but effective principles control the various links in the petroleum chain and ensure that they operate at minimum cost. Rockefeller eschewed production which he considered anarchical preferring to buy in his crude which was then available n market at very competitive price.

Environmental management and regulations have now a days became part of our societal life and a dominant issue for every sector Of our economies. This is also certainly true for oil and gas industry. The worsening global environment may be caused by numerous developmental activities, but the hydrocarbon fuel production and consumption may be said to be the most apparent cause on a global basis of many of the environmental problems ranging from air and water pollution to the most formidable global warming.

For this and another reason hydrocarbons are now viewed with skepticism or their adverse impact on environment. Consequently a body of rules and principle of both international and municipal laws have been introduced and developed over the last 25 years to govern oil and gas exploration and production and regulate its end use and consumption. The exploration of oil and gas reserves has not always been without some ecological effects. Oil spills, damaged land, accidents and fires and incidents of air and water pollution have all been recorded at various times and places.

In recent time the social impact of operations especially in remote communities has also attracted attention. The oil and gas industry has worked for a long time to meet the challenge of providing environmental protection. Much has already been achieved but the industry recognizes that even more can be accomplished. Awareness Of the importance of environmental issues has become more and more central to the thinking of oil regulators in last decades. Integration of development and environment, approached in partnership between stakeholders was the theme of UNCLE conference in ROI in 1992.

Principle 4 of this conference was “in order to achieve sustainable development environmental protection shall constitute n integral part of the development process and cannot be considered in isolation of it. Process Involved During Exploration & Production Before moving on to examine the subject matter Of environmental regulation of oil and gas activities, it is useful to briefly look at the environmental issues associated with petroleum exploration and production. The industrial development and societal practices of the 20th century have had a disturbing impact on the environment of the planet earth.

The inadequate use of natural resources and improper disposal of energy by-products poses adverse impact to only on the air, water and land, but increasingly on the entire ecosystem. The causes of the problems may be diverse and numerous, but the hydrocarbon fuel cycle may be the most apparent on a global basis. It creates in particular three major forms of environmental problems: air pollution, acid rain, and more importantly, global warming. The environmental problems created by the production and consumption of fossil fuels in general and petroleum in particular is of truly global dimensions.

They represent one of the greatest environmental concern shared by the entire international community. Although in many cases the major focus is on the underlying process of energy consumption, the upstream operations are not immune from environmental concerns There are various environmental problems faced during upstream operations and it has varied impact on environment. 1 During Seismic surrey problem faced are Physical presence ,Acoustic emission *Accidental spills and its impact on environment is Visibility and clearance Ground vibrations, Pollution of water and land. . During Exploration and Appraisal problem faced are Physical presence ,Drilling discharges / cuttings ,Atmospheric emission, Accidental spills / blowout ,Waste disposal (solid) ,Noise and its impact on environment are Visibility, interference with farming, shipping fishing, etc. Land and marine pollution and effects on plants and soils ,Air pollution, human health ,Ground and marine pollution / safety , Soil and water contamination ,Nuisance for inhabitants and animals. 3.

During Development and Production problems faced are Physical presence, Operation discharges ,Atmospheric emission , Accidental spills ,Waste disposal, Noise , Transportation collision ,Community ,losses of ethics and its impact on environment are Visibility interference, Ground and marine pollution, Air pollution, Pollution of water and land Soil and water contamination, Nuisance for inhabitants and animals ,Various environmental and safety risks Social, culture and biological effects ,Human rights and indigenous people. 4.

During Abandonment Problems faced are Physical closure / removal, Waste disposal, Leave in situ (partial or total) ,Dumping at sea and its impact on environment are Human safety and off shore pollution ,Hazard to other human activities such as fishing and navigation Pollution, fishing and navigation hazards. Apart from the traditional environmental problems listed in the tables, a number Of issues have recently emerged from natural resources industries, Including socio-economic issues, cultural impacts, indigenous people, and human rights issues.

For instance, an impact could arise from the movement of local people into the exploration and exploitation area because of the easy access provided by the new tracks which were not previously available; or because of the employment opportunities and compensation payments that are going to be provided by the new exploration and production. Petroleum exploration may also have a social impact on the local community and the indigenous people. Often times, indigenous people have different ethnic moralities, cultural values and a way of living, religion etc.

These can be socially and biologically vulnerable to external influences. Petroleum development in such localities could have a disruptive effect on the rights, culture and life of the indigenous people. These issues have largely been neglected in the past. They did not begin to be recognized until in recent times. The famous k Tied cases(case study given below) in Papua New Guiana may be said to represent a good example of hose new issues. Human rights issues in petroleum and mineral exploration have also loomed in the horizon lately, and we will return to it in due course in the paper.

To sum up, environmental problems start right away with exploration activities such as seismic surveys and geological prospecting, albeit the environmental interference and disturbance at this stage are limited. Second, it is interesting to observe that, in the upstream operations, environmental problems and their impacts tend to increase and build up along with the project’s progress, from the initial visibility and acoustic issues t the exploration phase, accidental spills and blow-out at the development stage, and to operational discharge and emissions such as gas flaring during the production period.

Environmental effects tend to culminate when the project reaches its production stage and then begin to decrease towards the abandonment stage. Third, oil and gas exploration and exploitation also have social impacts on the culture and heritage of the operating localities. Fourth, petroleum environmental problems do not end with energy consumption, rather it goes much further beyond the petroleum energy cycle, as evidenced y the phenomenon of global warming. The global climate change has effectively become the greatest environmental concerns of our time.

It is mainly caused by the emission of green house gases from use of fossil fuels. It is estimated that 60 percent of greenhouse gases comes from fossil fuels consumption; and about 21. 7 billion tones of carbon dioxide and 400,000 tones of Cuffs are dumped into the air each year. The following table provides detailed regional breakdowns in these emissions. k Tied Case study History of mining European explorers first set foot in what is now known as Papua New Guiana n the early 16th century, soon after which it was known as the Islam del ROR (Spanish for ‘Island of Gold’) for its rich gold deposits.

The following centuries saw the country divided into portions occupied by Germany, The Netherlands and Britain to sustain their interests in Papua New Guinea’s natural resources. Australia was particularly keen for Britain to colonies the country for trade purposes but Britain never established full governance. Papua New Guiana attained independence from European influences in 1975. Since then, Australia has led foreign mining industry activity mainly mining for gold, silver ND copper, largely through resource company BP Billion.

Gold and copper are the two main exports of Papua New Guiana. k Tied The k Tied copper mine in the west is one of Papua New Guinea’s oldest and largest mines. Its history serves as a representation of mining in Papua New Guiana as a whole. k Tied Mining Limited (HTML) currently has three shareholders: the PANG Sustainable Development Program Limited (52 percent – which belonged to BP Billion until 2002), the Papua New Guiana government (30 percent) and Unmet Mining Ltd (18 percent) from Canada. As early as 1 987, the first environmental surveys Were carried out at the site.

The surveys found that tailings (rock waste) from the mine increased the sediment level and mineral content of the nearby k Tied and Fly Rivers. A limit was then placed on the sediment output. In 1 993, BP acquired a 60 percent share in the mine while the Papua New Guiana government and Unmet owned 20 percent each. A class action (legal action taken by a group of people with the same complaint) comprising k Tied and Fly River landowners launched an environmental case against k Tied and BP in the Victorian Supreme Court.

The case was settled out of court with BP agreeing to provide a cage worth $400 million to the landowners. In the decade following, environmental problems continued to plague the site and surrounding areas. The PANG Sustainable Development Program Limited took the majority ownership from BP Billion in 2002 and the company admitted that mining waste had affected the livelihood of others along the river. The company intend to shut the mine in 2012, leaving a legacy of an irreversibly damaged river and remnants of communities that once subsisted on it.

Global issues All mines in Papua New Guiana are at least partially owned by foreign source companies such as BP Billion (Australia) and Unmet Mining Ltd (Canada). Other major players in the Papua New Guiana mining industry include the ELK and the ASSAI. In this respect, the industry has had a global flavor that involved foreign investment in infrastructure and gave jobs to local people but with most profits flowing back to the foreign investors. The influence of globalization can also be seen in terms of exports.

Most of the products of the mines are exported to other countries that do not have the same resources as Papua New Guiana. In the k Tied easer local landowners ere able to start legal proceedings against the company in a foreign court (the Victorian Supreme Court) because the main shareholder at the time (BP) had its headquarters in Melbourne. The class action therefore had access to Australian legislation for a local issue. There was some international protest against unsustainable mining in Papua New Guiana, though this was mainly restricted to surrounding countries in the region such as Australia and New Zealand.

International social development organizations run programmer to help local people stand up to companies that negatively effect the environment and their livelihoods in the process. Sofa’s The Mining Ombudsman is one such programmer, seeking to rectify human rights violations, environmental degradation and poverty that have resulted from mining operations. Ecological issues The main ecological issue was mining waste that was dumped in the river. Tailings contain traces of copper, zinc, cadmium and lead and an estimated 80 000 tons of this waste were dumped in the rivers every day for two decades.

Rivers are an important part of any ecosystem and the quality Of the water is essential in maintaining an ecological balance. The tailings poisoned n estimated 2000 square kilometers of forest and depleted fish stocks in both the k Tied and Fly Rivers. A more recent development has been the threat of acid rock drainage (ART). ART is acidic water caused by mining. Leakage of this water usually occurs at abandoned mine sites. If the acidic water enters the river system, it lowers the PH. This is then likely to result in damage to the river ecosystem, including destruction of plant life and further depletion of fish stocks.

Economic issues Mining has benefited the economy of Papua New Guiana in many ways. The industry brought foreign investment into the country, which in turn has reared jobs and initiated infrastructure into previously inaccessible places. The government has shares in some mining companies, which means that the money from exports benefits the economy directly. Due to the number of ecological problems and the damages sought against the k Tied mine, BP proposed to close the mine in 2001. The Papua New Guiana parliament rejected this proposal because of the immense importance of the mine to the Papua New Guiana economy.

Instead, they decided to phase out production, scheduled to end in 2012. BP handed over its majority share in 2002 to the PANG Sustainable Development Program Limited. While mining exports have thrived, mines in all areas of the country have had a negative impact on subsistence farmers. Many farmers were left unemployed, which also depleted the food supply. Food shortage and other types of hardship becomes a social effect of this situation, which further inflicts economic damage through the poverty cycle.

Main Disaster The k Tied environmental disaster caused grave harm to the environment along 1,000 kilometers (620 mi) of the k Tied and the Fly River in the Western Province of Papua New Guiana between about 1984 and 2013. The lives of 50,000 people have been disrupted. One of the resort environmental disasters caused by humans, it is a consequence of the discharge of about two billion tons of untreated mining waste into the k Tied from the k Tied Mine, an open pit mine in the Western Province of Papua New Guiana.

This mining pollution, due to the collapse of the k Tied tailings dam system in 1 984 and the lack of a proper waste retention facility, was the subject of class action litigation, naming k Tied Mining Limited and BP Billion and brought by local landowners. Villagers downstream from k Tied in the Fly River system in the Middle Fly District and the southern and central areas of the North Fly District, in reticular, believe that the effect on their livelihood from this disaster far outweighs the benefits they have received from the mine’s presence in their area.

Environmental Impact In 1 999, BP reported that 90 million tons Of mine Waste was annually discharged into the river for more than ten years and destroyed downstream villages, agriculture and fisheries. Mine wastes were deposited along 1,000 kilometers (620 mi) of the k Tied and the Fly River below its confluence with the k Tied, and over an area of 1 00 square kilometers (39 sq mi). PH’s CEO, Paul Anderson, said that the k Tied Mine was “not compatible with our environmental values and the company should never have become involved. L As of 2006, mine operators continued to discharge 80 million tons of tailings, overburden and mine-induced erosion into the river system each year. About 1 ,588 square kilometers (613 sq mi) of forest has died or is under stress. As many as 3,000 square kilometers (1 ,200 sq mi) may eventually be harmed, an area equal to the U. S. State of Rhode Island or the Danish island of Fun. 2 Following heavy rainfall, mine tailings are swept into the surrounding rain forest, swamps and creeks, and have left behind 30 square kilometers of dead forest.

Thick gray sludge from the mine is visible throughout the Ay River system, although its effects downriver are not as severe. 3 Chemicals from the tailings killed or contaminated fish, although they are still eaten by the people of the surrounding villages. However, fish counts decrease closer to the mine.

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