Since 1998, the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (OGP) has been collecting and collating information on environmental performance from its member companies. The initiative has two principal purposes; first, it addresses the need for greater transparency of upstream industry activities and second, it can provide a means for contributing companies to compare their environmental performance, thereby leading to improved overall industry performance.

Member companies are asked to provide information on 6 categories: atmospheric emissions, produced water, muds and cuttings from offshore operations, oil spills, chemical spills and energy efficiency. Companies also provide information on production levels associated with the data for normalisation. Data are compiled by region (Africa, Asia/Australasia, Europe, FSU, Middle East, North America and South America).

Thirty OGP member companies representing over 40% of the world's oil production now participate in the reporting cycle. Other member companies have begun the internal processes that will enable their participation in future years. Data coverage is quite uneven; for example almost all production in Europe is reported whilst in other areas performance is reported for a relatively low fraction of the known production.

The reporting exercises have identified and taken steps to solve a range of problems associated with data recording and processing. Information can now be reported to the system via an electronic interface, thereby minimising data transcription errors; the system also allows (by a series of ‘flags’) for early detection of possibly spurious year-on-year variations in company reporting.

As the reporting mechanism has developed, the level of confidence within the participating companies has grown steadily and OGP released a summary of information on 2002 activities in 2003. This year, participating companies have agreed to publish data aggregated at a regional as well as a global level.

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