Data challenges and opportunities for environmental management of North Sea oil and gas decommissioning in an era of blue growth

Murray, F. et al. (2018) Data challenges and opportunities for environmental management of North Sea oil and gas decommissioning in an era of blue growth. Marine Policy, 97, pp. 130-138. (doi: 10.1016/j.marpol.2018.05.021)

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Abstract

Maritime industries routinely collect critical environmental data needed for sustainable management of marine ecosystems, supporting both the blue economy and future growth. Collating this information would provide a valuable resource for all stakeholders. For the North Sea, the oil and gas industry has been a dominant presence for over 50 years that has contributed to a wealth of knowledge about the environment. As the industry begins to decommission its offshore structures, this information will be critical for avoiding duplication of effort in data collection and ensuring best environmental management of offshore activities. This paper summarises the outcomes of a Blue Growth Data Challenge Workshop held in 2017 with participants from: the oil and gas industry; the key UK regulatory and management bodies for oil and gas decommissioning; open access data facilitators; and academic and research institutes. Here, environmental data collection and archiving by oil and gas operators in the North Sea are described, alongside how this compares to other offshore industries; what the barriers and opportunities surrounding environmental data sharing are; and how wider data sharing from offshore industries could be achieved. Five primary barriers to data sharing were identified: 1) Incentives, 2) Risk Perception, 3) Working Cultures, 4) Financial Models, and 5) Data Ownership. Active and transparent communication and collaboration between stakeholders including industry, regulatory bodies, data portals and academic institutions will be key to unlocking the data that will be critical to informing responsible decommissioning decisions for offshore oil and gas structures in the North Sea.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:The Blue Growth Data Workshop was organised by the University of Edinburgh through the INSITE Data Initiative funded by the INSITE (INfluence of man-made Structures In the Ecosystem, www. insitenorthsea.org) research programme. J. Murray Roberts and Katherine Needham acknowledge further support from the European Union's Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under grant agreement No. 678760 (ATLAS). David Billett was supported by funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 689518 (MERCES: Marine Ecosystem Restoration in Changing European Seas). Lea-Anne Henry was supported by the INSITE Project “Appraisal of Network Connectivity between North Sea subsea oil and gas platforms”. Kieran Hyder was supported by INSITE project “Assessing the ecological connectivity between man-made structures in the North Sea”. Silvana Birchenough was supported by the INSITE project “Understanding the influence of man-made structures on the ecosystem functions of the North Sea and the European Union's Horizon 2020 Project COLUMBUS (652690) ”Knowledge Transfer for Blue Growth”.
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Simpson, Dr Katherine
Authors: Murray, F., Needham, K., Gormley, K., Rouse, S., Coolen, J. W.P., Billett, D., Dannheim, J., Birchenough, S. N.R., Hyder, K., Heard, R., Ferris, J. S., Holstein, J. M., Henry, L.-A., McMeel, O., Calewaert, J.-B., and Roberts, J. M.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
Journal Name:Marine Policy
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0308-597X
ISSN (Online):1872-9460
Published Online:07 July 2018
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 The Authors
First Published:First published in Marine Policy 97:130-138
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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