This presentation provides an overview of current key international guidelines applicable to Arctic oil and gas exploration, assesses the extent of their influence, including topics where current guidelines may be lacking, and discusses potential implications for operators.
Seas within the Arctic Circle are considered to be the next great frontier for offshore oil and gas and as such are attracting increasing interest from oil and gas operators, as well as NGOs, governments, the international media and other organisations. There is intense scrutiny from a range of stakeholders on the regulatory framework that exists to permit and authorise oil and gas exploration in this sensitive environment, often including a focus on environmental and social impacts. As such projects need to be proactive in demonstrating a high degree of environmental and social responsibility. Existing regional, national and international laws provide the regulatory framework for development in the Arctic, however, legislation is evolving as interest in Arctic oil and gas increases thereby necessitating the formation of guidelines for industry best practice. There are currently a large number of international guidelines that could be applied to projects by way of best practice. This report and presentation focuses on guidelines from the Arctic Council, OGP, IMO and IPEICA, with particular reference to how these affect the development of environmental and social impact assessments, and key topics therein (such as waste management and oil spills).