The permits cover oil and gas platforms in the northern, central and southern North Sea and ran over a period of four years, with the majority of the production permits running from 2006 to 2009 or 2007 to 2010.
The PON15D permits contained the information required in production permits by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC, previously BERR) and the Fisheries Research Services (FRS) and also addressed the requirements of the Offshore Chemicals Regulations 2002 and the Offshore Petroleum Production and Pipe-lines (Assessment of Environmental Effects) Regulations 1999. Information on the following was included:
- Production and process facilities;
- Local environment; and
- Chemicals to be used and discharged during production and processing activities.
The facilities for production and processing were described including information on the process system e.g. water re-injection, flow assurance issues, the environmental management system, the environmental performance of the facility and the historical and planned management of chemicals carrying a substitution warning.
A brief assessment of the environmental sensitivities of the specific areas of the North Sea in the vicinity of the production platforms was undertaken for each PON15D renewal considering the physical environment, the sediments, and the benthic and pelagic communities.
Full information on the use and discharge of chemicals involved in the production processes and information on production figures were included.
The anticipated chemical discharges were modelled using the Chemical Hazard and Risk Management (CHARM) where appropriate to assess the likely impact of proposed operations on the marine environment. Where modelling indicated a potential risk that could not be mitigated, a full justification for the use of the chemical was provided within the document weighing the environmental and economical costs and considering alternative products.
BMT Cordah liaised closely with staff of the North Sea oil and gas operators and chemical manufacturers to assemble all the pertinent information required to renew the PON15Ds.
The permits were compiled and information entered onto the UK Oil Portal in sufficient time to ensure submission deadlines were met and permits approved.