Offshore Environmental news

Working with the oil and gas sector to protect our environment
11 November 2013

Environmental guidelines developed for oil and gas sector

Cawthron marine scientists are leading the way in developing environmental monitoring procedures for New Zealand's oil and gas industry.

The scientists are involved in ongoing work to monitor the marine environment around offshore oil and gas operations near Taranaki, on behalf of local operators.

While this monitoring is compulsory for the industry there are no specific protocols around it. This can lead to inconsistent and adhoc practices.

Cawthron's offshore environmental monitoring team worked with the oil and gas operators to develop a set of best practice guidelines called the Offshore Taranaki Environmental Monitoring Protocol. The protocol has now been adopted by Maritime New Zealand to support new legislation on the issue.

"Being able to be part of that process is pretty exciting," the team's co-leader Olivia Johnston says. "The level of effort, resources and cooperation the operators have put into this has been really amazing."

While at sea, the scientists work 12 hour shifts taking samples from the muddy sea floor around the Taranaki facilities to assess the environmental impact of drilling and production-related discharges.

Cawthron has been doing this monitoring work for almost two years now and has developed unique expertise in the area.

"It's exciting to be involved in this work because it's a really important part of environmental monitoring and it's growing rapidly," fellow team leader Deanna Elvines says.


Find out more:

Contact Chris Cornelisen Coastal and Freshwater Group Manager (Coastal).

Read the research report on this issue in the publications section of our website.