Abstract.

In Germany, hydrocarbon reservoirs are frequently located in areas designated as nature or landscape protection zones, or at least as farmland or forest.

In addition, environmental discussions are making the public increasingly sensitive and statutory environmental requirements are impeding the implementation of industrial planning and decision-making processes.

In order for exploration for and production of hydrocarbons to remain calculable, economically and ecologically reasonable solutions must be found which are acceptable to ail concerned. This necessitates competent communication and coordination and a high degree of cooperation both within the company and vis-à-vis residents, authorities, ministries, interest groups and partners.

Within the scope of these activities, environmental concerns for BEB can be roughly grouped into three main categories - permit proceduresflegislation - emissions/recultivations - liability claims.

The entrepreneurial challenge in solving these tasks necessitates an environmentally-oriented management and a change of strategy towards a preventive-protective approach which take into account ecological aspects and thus Co-responsibility for environmental quality in an appropriate manner.

The present paper describes two examples of this structural change, the first initiated by the lawmaker and the second by the company itself.

With the introduction of the Environmental Impact Assessment as an instrument of preventive environmental policy, this change is required by law for specific public and private industry projects. From the example of a pipeline project, the resulting consequences for planning and the permit procedure are shown. The second example presents a programme aimed at analyzing the relationships between SO2 emissions from natural gas production in South Oldenburg areas and the (vegetational) damage to forests in the same region.

INTRO DUCTION Responsible, environment-oriented company management is no longer restricted to subsequent elimination of environmental pollution; rather, it is aimed at preventing the occurrence of damaging environmental effects. This means that in the exploration for and production and transport of hydrocarbons all available environmentally relevant information for problem identification and assessment must be integrated into the planning and decision-making process as early as possible.

The consistent observance and application of this ‘principle of prevention’ in company planning is a vital prerequisite for considering environmental risks, effects and possible nuisances at an early stage and in an all embracing manner, so that economic and ecologically justifiable solutions can be found which are acceptable to all parties concerned.

The compa

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