The purpose of this paper is to relate the experiences and lessons learned by the Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operations (ADCO) as we have been developing our Environmental Management System (EMS) over the last two years. The opinions expressed in this paper are mine as Environmental Protection Advisor for ADCO. I have made several suggestions that I hope can help EMS implementation in similar companies just beginning the process.
ADCO is the largest of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) Group companies and is responsible for exploring and producing the onshore crude reserves in Abu Dhabi Emirate. ADCO consists of five major producing fields (Bab, Asab, Sahil, Shah and Bu Hasa) located in desert environments and the Jebel Dhanna tank farm and shipping terminal located adjacent to a natural port on the north-western coast of Abu Dhabi We are also beginning to develop and appraise some of our coastal-lying concession areas. ADCO's operations and therefore responsibilities begin at the seismic phase and extend to drilling, completion, production, gas/oil/water separation and pipelining of the crude to our storage and shipping terminal. Most associated gas produced in our fields is processed by our sister company, GASCO.
In 1994, ADCO senior management made a strong and visible commitment to improve the Company's environmental performance by expanding its Environmental Protection Group (EPG), retaining an experienced environmental consultant to perform an environmental baseline survey of the entire ADCO operation and authorising early development of an EMS to manage the ADCO environmental programme.
Even though environmental regulation and legislation in Abu Dhabi was minimal at that time, a growing company realisation that ADCO needed to improve its environmental performance, in my opinion, drove the Company to this decision. ADCO's early decision to address this area has clearly been vindicated. In 1994, the only environmental requirements in place were the ADNOC Group Environmental and Occupational Health Guidelines and Abu Dhabi Law No. 8 of 1978. In 1995 the UAE-wide Federal Environmental Agency issued for public comments draft environmental legislation. Also in 1995, comprehensive environmental regulation covering air, water, and soil was drafted by the Abu Dhabi Municipality and issued for public comment. ADNOC, our majority shareholder, has begun to apply more and more pressure on its operating companies to improve their environmental performance. And finally, environmental awareness and concern are growing in the region, as evidenced by numerous local newspaper articles and Middle East environmental seminars and conferences.
Since 1994, ADCO has come a long way in implementation of our EMS. We have completed our Environmental Baseline Study (EBS) and are in the process of addressing the problem areas identified in that study. Company-endorsed environmental objectives have been set and implementation timelines are being fixed around those objectives. The EPG has been further strengthened to a staff of five by the addition of two experienced environmental specialists. Two priority EMS elements are well underway - development and implementation of the ADCO Monitoring and Tracking System and Waste Management Plan. P. 161