Egypt works now for the present with an eye on the future, trying to achieve balance between development needs and environmental protection. The strategic objective is to mainstream an environmental dimension in national policies, plans, programs and practices within a sustainable development context. Promulgation of Law No. 4/1994 in respect of environmental protection established the criteria and conditions which the owners of projects and establishments are committed to comply with before the setting up of projects and during operations. The law also implied field follow-up to verify the conduct of companies in meeting the criteria and conditions of the law, and the provision of the power of the authorities to take proceedings against those who violate the terms of the legal requirements. The law addresses upstream hydrocarbon activities in both its text and in its executive regulations introducing provisions, conditions and limits that should be followed precisely. Seismic surveys, exploratory and development drilling, offshore platforms, production sealines, processing plant, tankers, ballast water, oil loading and offloading are examples of specific items addressed by the law. Such legal criteria affect the work programs of hydrocarbon upstream companies working in Egypt and require some modifications and attention to ensure legal compliance. The paper will address the framing of the Egyptian environmental law and show its effects and those of its executive regulations on hydrocarbon exploration and production programs and activities.

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