Environmental requirements for oil and gas

The environmental requirements applicable to offshore oil and gas installations are laid down in various legislation, including the Danish Subsoil Act, the Danish Continental Shelf Act and the Danish Marine Environment Protection Act . 

The Environmental Protection Agency is responsible for supervising emissions and discharges to the marine environment, while the DEA is responsible for the EIA procedures. 

Emissions and discharges 

The production of oil and gas results in various atmospheric emissions and marine discharges.

Atmospheric emissions consist of such gases as CO2 (carbon dioxide) and NOx (nitrogen oxide). 

The combustion of natural gas and diesel oil associated with producing and transporting oil and gas results in CO2 emissions to the atmosphere, as does the flaring of gas for safety or plant-related reasons. The volume emitted by the individual installation or field depends in particular on plant-related and natural conditions, and, to a more limited degree, on the scale of production.

Offshore installations for energy production exceeding 20 MW are covered by the European CO2 allowance scheme. The offshore sector is also comprised by the Danish Act on NOx tax on Atmospheric Emissions.  

Small quantities of chemicals, oil residue and subsoil material are discharged into the sea in connection with oil and gas production and the drilling of new wells. In addition, unintentional spills may occur. 

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

When a company applies to the DEA for approval of a production plan for oil and gas fields or the installation of pipelines, the application must be accompanied by an environmental impact assessment (EIA) and an account of the measures taken to reduce such impact. In some cases this type of application does not require an environmental impact assessment. The criteria appear from the DEA’s Executive Order No. 1419 of 3 December 2015 on EIA. 

Information about the submission of an application for a new offshore installation project must be published, and the associated EIA report must be subjected to public consultation for at least eight weeks.

EIA reports are subject to public consultation. Once a decision on environmental issues has been made, information about the decision must be published. An appeal can be lodged against the decision. 

Executive Order No. 1419 of 3 December 2015 on EIA (in Danish)

Strategic environmental assessment 

As part of the preparations for the 7th Licensing Round held for the purpose of granting oil and gas licences, a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) was performed. The aim of the strategic environmental assessment was to identify, describe and assess the probable significant impacts of licensing rounds on the environment.

The strategic environmental assessment covers the area west of 6° 15’ E targeted for oil and gas exploration and production, as well as areas targeted for the injection of CO2 in existing oil and gas fields (EOR). 

Kirsten Lundt Erichsen
Special Advisor (+45) 3392 6873
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