The ever-expanding magnitude of environmental laws and regulations is increasing the due diligence required before buying or selling an oil and gas property. The environmental hazards on an oil and gas property can pose future financial and environmental liabilities for both the purchaser and the seller which can be disastrous. By performing an environmental site assessment prior to oil and gas property transfer, the purchaser and the seller can limit their financial and environmental risks.

An Environmental Site Assessment is typically divided into three distinct phases: Phase I, qualitative investigation; Phase II, quantitative evaluation; Phase III, hazard management. The qualitative investigation, or Phase I, is a thorough records review and on-site inspection to determine whether any suspected environmental hazards exist on a site or in its vicinity. If any suspected hazards are discovered, Phase II is initiated, which involves further investigation of the site and representative sampling to quantify the extent of the hazards. Phase III is the implementation of remedial options. The qualitative (Phase I) and quantitative (Phase II) information is used to build a workable plan for controlling or eliminating environmental hazards found on a property.

This paper documents examples of environmental hazards identified from three years of environmental site assessments. The assessments were on oil and gas properties comprising over 2000 well sites and 500 facilities, operated by both major and independent oil companies.

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