Environmental reporting has made significant progress during the last decade and the industry has now enough data to analyse the trends since the beginning of the millennium, and to draw conclusions. Environmental performance indicators (EPIs) show that significant progress has been made on:
environmental management in the exploration and production industry (E&P),
the quality of produced water (PW) discharged to the sea,
the discharge of muds and cuttings containing oil or hazardous chemicals, and
regionally, the use and discharge of hazardous chemicals.
On the contrary, performance improvement of E&P discharges to the air, show little progress, if any. Some would conclude that it looks difficult to reduce the footprint from the E&P industry. But there is a gap between EPIs and the footprint of the industry. One must not forget that the real challenge is to reduce the impact of the E&P activities to such a level that they cause no harm to the environment. A clear understanding and appraisal of the potential harm to the environment is therefore critical to any action plan. Tools now exist which can be used by operators. In many cases, it shows that existing measures are sufficient to guarantee a good protection of the environment. But there is one segment where efforts are still insufficient, compared to the huge challenge the society faces: emission of greenhouse gases, for which the target is to reduce the discharge to such a level that the contribution of the E&P industry to global warming becomes negligible