The hydrocarbon basins in the Arctic are thought to hold a significant proportion of the world’s remaining undiscovered hydrocarbon reserves. Exploration in the region has been taking place for almost a century, with more that 500 wells drilled offshore and many thousands onshore, and will continue under the licence and invitation from sovereign governments.

Yet there is a growing international interest in the various governance aspects of the Arctic and ever greater appreciation that its natural resources need to be developed with proper regard for the environmental and social settings. In addition to the stringent domestic legislation and international treaties, there are numerous forums for bringing together the policy makers, indigenous people and scientists to develop a common understanding of Arctic matters and ensure that oil and gas exploration in the region is done safely.

The International Oil & Gas Producers Association (OGP), its partners and individual member companies are committed to improving the industry’s performance and have actively contributed to the development of industry standards for protecting

the Arctic environment, both offshore and onshore. Recognising recent advances in design, technology and operational practice, OGP has updated and strengthened its existing guidelines in a consolidated Arctic Environment Good Practice Guide (Arctic GPG or the Guide).

The Guide provides essential information on the oil and gas interests in the Arctic and the challenges faced by operators; it describes the legislative and governance frameworks across the Arctic nations and the role of the peoples of the Arctic; it provides generic descriptions of the physical and biological environment of both onshore and offshore, including the sensitivities to development. It examines potential environmental impacts of oil and gas developments and the mitigation measures that are normally adopted. The Guide is written mostly for Arctic operations, but may include relevant management practices for the use in other similar environments.

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