The Oil Industry Experience: Technology Cooperation and Capacity Building
Oil, gas and coal represent about 90 percent of the commercial energy used worldwide. Reserves of oil, gas and coal are estimated to last for at least two centuries at today’s consumption rates. Although advances in renewable energy technologies will continue to play a role in determining the world’s energy mix, the global community will rely heavily on the use of fossil fuels for the foreseeable future. This will be particularly important in developing economies which represent some 60 per cent of annual growth in energy demand. In meeting this growing demand, the challenge for the petroleum industry is to develop and provide the global market place with affordable petroleum products while ensuring environmental quality. The activities involved have a potential impact on the environment. For upstream and downstream activities, the environmental issues that the industry faces are numerous. Potential impacts include, among others: air emissions, climate change, biodiversity, marine and freshwater discharges, emergency preparedness in the event of accidents and oil spills, and soil and groundwater contamination. The oil and gas industry has begun to respond to these issues, however much remains to be done. It should also be recognized that much has been achieved, and many oil industry managements now place high priority on understanding and managing the environmental impact of their operations. The bibliography at the end of this report includes some examples of guidelines and good management practices which have been published to assist oil and gas industry managers in improving their environmental performance. Industry is encouraged by an increasing acceptance of the need to explore new approaches to environmental management. It will be an active partner with governments in joint goal and standard setting exercises and it is strongly motivated to seek out and apply creative and costeffective approaches to meeting new and challenging goals—outside the strait jacket of simple end-of-pipe treatments and rigid command and control strategies.