The IOPER – the International Offshore Petroleum Environment Regulators is a collaborative group of national regulators whose members are dedicated to raising environmental performance standards within the offshore petroleum exploration and production industry. This includes ensuring that standards applicable to the industry's normal operations, as well as environmental emergency prevention, preparedness and response are produced and exercised.
In a similar fashion, IPIECA – The Global Association for Environmental and Social issues and IOGP – the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers have recently completed a five year multi-million-dollar effort to write recommended practices, good practice guidelines, technical discussion and information papers and many other reference documents. Part of that process has seen a systematic and constructive dialogue with offshore regulators in many countries – both nascent and developed – many of whom are members of the IOPER.
Globally, and particularly since the 2010 Gulf of Mexico incident, the offshore industry has adapted its approach to managing offshore oil pollution risks and regulators likewise have responded within the bounds of their national legislation. A logical next step was for regulators to work together with the oil and gas industry internationally to improve global oil pollution preparedness by the regulatory community developing a set of preparedness principles for application in the offshore sector, and the global associations (IPIECA and IOGP) mapping their best practices to these principles.
A total of six principles are outlined for monitoring the quality and quantity of industry oil spill preparedness for offshore activities.
This paper will outline the components of each of the six principles and explain in detail how the industry has responded to and mapped their Good Practice Guidance, Recommended Practices and other standards to the regulatory initiative with examples given for each of the principles