Falklands : Falkland Islands Offshore Hydrocarbons Environmental Forum Holds Successful First Meeting
Submitted by Falkland Islands News Network (Juanita Brock) 08.10.2011 (Article Archived on 22.10.2011)
The Falkland Islands Offshore Hydrocarbons Environmental Forum held their first meeting on 27th September in the Chamber of Commerce.
Falkland Islands Offshore Hydrocarbons Environmental Forum Holds Successful First Meeting
By J. Brock (FINN)
The Falkland Islands Offshore Hydrocarbons Environmental Forum held their first meeting on 27th September in the Chamber of Commerce. Comprising of representatives of the oil industry, environmental organisations and relevant Falkland Islands Government departments, the Forum met to provide a means for structured formal and informal consultation on proposed and on-going hydrocarbon exploration and production activities that may affect the natural environment in and around the Falkland Islands
Phyl Rendell as Forum Chair and Andrea Clausen as Deputy Chair were elected at the first meeting. Terms of Reference for the Forum were agreed at the meeting and are available to the public. Members of the Forum agreed that meetings would be held every six months and in private to allow for frank discussions. A synopsis of the minutes will be made available to the public with an opportunity for the public to submit questions in writing to the Forum for consideration.
Representatives of Falkland Oil and Gas Ltd (FOGL), led by CEO Tim Bushell gave a presentation on the Environmental Impact Statement they have recently produced for their upcoming drilling programme in the South and East Falkland basins. FOGL and Borders and Southern Petroleum intend to share the Leiv Eiriksson dynamically positioned rig to drill a total of four wells, with drilling beginning in early 2012 and extending for about 6 months. The FOGL EIS is currently available from the Mineral Resources Dept for public comment.
Rockhopper Exploration Presentation
Neil Booth gave a verbal presentation on current environmental monitoring projects being conducted in support of Rockhopper Explorations’ on-going hydrocarbons exploration work in the North Falkland basin . Neil highlighted Rockhopper’s recent placement of an independent seabird and marine mammal observer on support vessels during well testing in June 2011. He also noted ongoing collaboration with the FIG Fisheries Department through the sharing of Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) benthic sampling videos. This study is utilising ROV video footage from each well location and hopes to provide information on three topics including assistance to gain a better understanding of the extent of loligo spawning grounds off East Falkland.
It was agreed that the seismic survey observer reports of Desire, Argos, Rockhopper would be circulated to Forum members.
Falklands Conservation Research
James Fenton Chief Executive Officer of Falklands Conservation gave an update on recent and upcoming Falklands Conservation research of potential relevance to the oil industry. This includes satellite tracking of King, Gentoo and Rockhopper Penguins as well as the ‘Protected Areas Project’ beginning in October. He also noted several project applications and the tracking work being undertaken on Gentoo and Rockhopper Penguins on New Island as well as ongoing tracking work on Elephant Seals on Sea Lion Island.
Data gaps – data required to better inform oil industry
A section of the meeting was devoted to the discussion of gaps in baseline environmental data required to better inform on offshore hydrocarbons activity. A working group has been formed under the leadership of Paul Brickle to define the scope of work for a gap analysis to begin the formal recognition of data gaps relating to seabirds, marine mammals, fish species and other sensitive environmental features and formulate a discussion paper for next the Forum meeting in March 2012.
For further information on the Forum or to submit a question please contact the Nick Rendell at the Environmental Planning Dept on tel; 28480, or email; email@example.com