Environmental Impact Analysis on Egyptian Oil & Gas Activities
This article gives a summary of the Environmental Impact Analysis of a number of activities that reflect Apache’s oil and gas operations inside Egypt. Apache Corporation is one of the world’s top independent oil and gas exploration and production companies. It has a significant operating presence in Egypt. Apache’s total production ranks number three for all of Egypt and accounts for 14% of Egypt’s total production.
Oil and gas activities has several adverse effects on environment . Before starting up the construction, an Environmental Impact Analysis has to be done and submitted to the responsible agency. In February 2004, Apache under the guidelines provided by Ministry of State for Environmental Affairs- Egyptian Environmental Affair Agency, submitted an Environmental Impact Statement to Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) for its Egyptian operations. It also had to get an acceptance from EGPC, EEAA, Local Governorate, and Ministry of Defense.
This Environmental Impact Analysis is done under “The Environment Protection Law (1994)” and Egypt’s petroleum policy. Since Egypt’s economy is majorly based on oil and gas exploration, Environmental protection has become one of the most important concerns in Egypt. The impact of energy policies and activities on environmental quality must be regarded as an extremely significant consideration for petroleum companies operating in Egypt.
Environmental Impact Analysis looks into many aspects of ecology like impacts on Flora and fauna, social-economic features arising, medical features easily available and also check if any archeological interest prevails in that area, the changes likely to occur on climate, temperature, soil, air, water( surface and ground) and studies in deep about the geology of the area and what changes in can bring about by digging for wells and pipelines.
There can be impacts during construction of wells, pipelines and during operation of exploration. Some of the main impacts are as summarized below-
- Installation of early production facility
- Soil contamination;
- Temporarily change in air quality;
- Noise levels’ increase.
- Installations of oil/gas pipelines
- Erosion & alter the stability of the soil in the vicinity of the pipeline
2.Affect access roads during equipment mobilization;
3.Leaks and waste generated during construction can cause potential threat to economic & environmental resources.
4. Oil/Gas pipeline leakage or rupture may cause explosion or fire.
- Operating the production facility
- Change in air quality;
- Soil contamination;
- Occupational health & safety
- Operating oil/gas pipeline
- Erosion & alteration of the stability of the soil in the vicinity of the pipeline if not properly monitored;
- Leaks can cause potential threat to economic & environmental resources.
3. Oil/Gas pipeline leakage or rupture may cause explosion or fire
Environmental Impact Analysis looks into the impacts on environment and their sources and finds out the mitigation measures needed to be taken. Here we are dealing with only few of the mitigation measures.
- Source- Drill Cuttings
Mitigation measures – Treatment of drill cuttings are conducted using
API testing methods for water based cuttings and then determining the appropriate disposal method. OBM drill cuttings are transported in enclosed containers for treatment and disposal (incineration) facility approved by local Environmental Impact Analysis authorities.
- Source-Accidental spills of fuels and lubricants
Mitigation method- Response procedures will be implemented. They include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Barriers and dikes will be used around the contaminated area to prevent the spread of the spill.
- Contaminated topsoil will be removed and placed in specific containers.
- Raising the awareness of the onsite staff site to manage fuel or lubricant spills properly if they occur.
- Mobilization of Heavy Equipment & Accessibility
For the new access roads, reinstatement procedures will take place after demobilization. Best efforts will be done so as to restore the topographic features of the soil. Upgraded existing roads will be left for local use. It is a positive impact. During rig mobilization, the contractor will follow as much as possible; the existing tracks to maintain the fragile micro surface layers. Moving inside the proposed area with cars, trucks and other means of transportation will be done as slowly as possible
- Noise from drilling activities.
Efforts are done to complete all the operations in a timely manner to minimize the disturbance by noise. All well locations are far from any residential areas due to the nature of the area. It is a temporary effect and will cease by the end of the project. Also, personal protective hearing equipment will be provided to the workers at the site area.
ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT FOR OIL/GAS PLANTS
It covered training, contracts, monitoring, audits and reporting. Apache generated a detailed environmental management plan for the day to day operations including a waste management plan drafted for the commencement of operations