Oil & Gas operations occur in a range of environments with different degrees of ecological sensitivities. Operations are dependent on natural resources that biodiversity and ecosystems provide, and may also cause impacts both in the short and long term.

The Oil & Gas industry has long recognised the importance of managing interactions of its activities with the natural environment and the need to integrate biodiversity and ecosystem services (BES) into existing environmental management practices throughout the project life cycle. This is key to ensuring business continuity, the sustainable use of nature and access to new resources, which are increasingly located in sensitive, remote environments.

Over the past decade eni e&p Division, working in partnership with the leading international conservation NGO Fauna and Flora International, has developed company best practice for a timely and effective BES management within its global operations. This has been field-tested through pilot BES assessments and action plans in onshore and offshore sensitive environments (Italy, Ecuador, Norway, Alaska, Congo and Pakistan), and has led to an improved environmental management system.

The application of ecological science, emerging conservation concepts and international best practices combined with the knowledge gained from pilot assessments implemented in different operational, environmental and socio-economic conditions, has contributed to the development of a systematic approach to manage reliance and potential impacts of e&p global operations on BES.

This distinctive approach to BES management includes (i) global mapping and assessment of all sites against areas of high biodiversity value, (ii) implementation of site-specific BES assessments and action plans in operating sites ranked as high priority with respect to biodiversity, and (iii) incorporation of BES evaluations into Environmental Social and Health Impact Assessments (ESHIAs) in new operating sites.

As an example of site-specific BES assessments and action plan, this paper illustrates the experience from an in-field pilot project in Congo, with a particular focus on the importance of combining landscape-scale and site-scale surveys and assessments.

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