NERC Oil & Gas Knowledge Exchange (Directed) Fellowhip

Lead Research Organisation: University of Aberdeen
Department Name: Inst of Biological and Environmental Sci

Abstract

The Fellow will work at the interface of academic research and industry, and be responsible for exploring, mapping and cross-linking relevant environmental data sets from both sectors. A key aspect of the Fellowship will be to chart the possibilities, scope and limitations of a wide portfolio of environmental data resources from industry, academic research and the wider environmental community.
For the last three decades, EU environmental policies have focused on determining adverse and undesirable changes to the natural system as the result of human activities and on initiating management responses to alleviate impacts (Borja et al. 2009). In addition, resource management, environmental assessment and monitoring primarily focus on single industry sectors in many regions (Queffelec et al. 2009; Kenny et al. 2009). However, there has been a shift in the perception of environmental management in the political agenda, with a move towards an integrative and ecosystem-based management system (EBM), a requirement for quantitative cumulative impact assessment and mapping; and integrated monitoring measures. The environmental research undertaken during the Fellowship will focus on pertinent policy, industry and research questions that may include: (a) what monitoring requirements need to be met for decommissioning; (b) how can recovery be assessed; and (c) will ongoing monitoring be required?
A strict legal framework of national, regional and international regulations governs how disused offshore facilities are decommissioned. Presently, and in the coming years and decades, a number of offshore O&G installations will be decommissioned, not only presenting a number of economic issues (Oil & Gas UK forecasts the total cost of decommissioning for existing and sanctioned infrastructure to be £28.7 billion from 2012 onwards); but also a number of significant environmental challenges. The combination of decommissioning issues, new deep-water exploration territories (platformsin deeper water may have probability higher risk of an incident, such as a spill); and the new production techniques, all highlight areas of uncertainty in environmental data management and assessment. Only a coherent environmental data platform will enable assessment and analysis to be conducted efficiently and in the most scientifically rigorous manner.
Thus, one of the key activities of this Fellowship includes the development of a web-based mapping portal that incorporates current NERC, industry and other sources of environmental data. This portal will make a transformative difference in data accessibility. The Fellowship will also contribute towards a culture of change with regard to data collation and management. Through close industry liaison and KE, the Fellow will work towards securing industry buy-in to this concept of contributing data directly into the portal at source (e.g. uploaded directly as part of the reporting process). Therefore we anticipate that this KE project will also influence future environmental policy and legislation and facilitate addressing uncertainties surrounding the assessment of licensed activity impacts from exploration through to decommissioning on the environment.
Traditionally, marine monitoring around the UK has been limited in scope, in part due to lack of guidance on what, when and how things should be monitored. This is in contrast to, for example, the Norwegian O&G industry which has carried out systematic monitoring of the offshore environment since the ninties (CPA, 2011; OSPAR, 2007) Understanding how Norwegian authorities use their environmental data and lessons learned from the process will be important in determining how best to create the KE platform. Discussions are currently underway to establish Norwegian partnerships, building upon the HWU research team's existing collaborations with the Institute for Marine Research who lead the Norwegian shelf habitat mapping MAREANO programme.

Publications

10 25 50

Related Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Award Value
NE/M006859/1 20/10/2014 28/04/2016 £221,586
NE/M006859/2 Transfer NE/M006859/1 29/04/2016 30/06/2021 £117,492
 
Description During 2017/2018, the main goal of the project has been to engage more widely with the energy industry (primarily oil and gas), but too also start engaging further with other energy industries (e.g. renewables). This has been achieved primarily through the organisation of a number of industry/academic workshops. 1. MASTS/SUT Wreck removal and decommissioning workshop; 2. Ecosystem benefits mapping workshop; 3. Design for decommissioning - Opportunities for marine science workshop; and 4. SciBar Installations network (environmental impacts of installations in the Arctic). All of the workshops (that have taken place so far) have all yielded either publications, that are currently being finalised; or opportunities for further project work. The non-academic impacts are seen through the wide participation at these workshops by non-academic delegates, and through the preparation of non-academic reports. In addition, making the industry survey database more user friendly and incorporating industry feedback as enable us to provide a better product to the industry for use in their impact assessments etc.
First Year Of Impact 2017
Sector Energy,Environment
Impact Types Societal

 
Title O and G Environment Interactive 
Description The database encompasses the data produced during the North Sea Interactive project plus other data gathered since then - which is specifically oil and gas industry seabed survey results. The database is a mapping portal which displays the datasets and has searchable functions. The current version available through the Oil and Gas UK website will be updated in March 2018 - the server now being hosted at the university. The mapping app in now linked to external data sources at JNCC and Marine Scotland's Marine National Marine Plan Interactive (NMPi) - therefore allowing industry to view there own survey data against other environmental data used in environmental impact assessments such as marine protected areas etc. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2017 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact It is hoped that the database will be hosted by Oil and Gas UK via their data centre in the next 12 months. Feedback on the initial database has been incorporated into changes in this version. It is now possible to query the seabed survey data and view it against other environmental data that was not possible before. 
URL https://w3.abdn.ac.uk/clsm/OandGInteractive/
 
Description MASTS Oil and Gas Forum 
Organisation Department of Energy and Climate Change
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Having served as convenor for the forum for over 12 months, I stepped back to steering group member in 2017. As a member of the steering group (rather than as convenor) - I have found I have been able to contribute much more to the forum activities. This contribution has primarily been through the provision of industry placements - primarily placing students with the oil and gas regulator BEIS and CEFAS, completely a 3 month project. In addition, I arranged a student visit to the Underwater Centre in Fort William, where the students had an opportunity to get some hands on experience with ROVs and diving equipment.
Collaborator Contribution Partners attend forum meetings and contribute to discussions and help outline forum objectives etc.
Impact A BEIS/CEFAS 3 month studentship was completed in addition to the student visit to the Underwater Centre. This visit was primarily to give students an insight into potential career areas of the oil and gas industry. Feedback was very positive from both the students and the centre. If funding allows, the visit may be repeated.
Start Year 2015
 
Description MASTS Oil and Gas Forum 
Organisation Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Having served as convenor for the forum for over 12 months, I stepped back to steering group member in 2017. As a member of the steering group (rather than as convenor) - I have found I have been able to contribute much more to the forum activities. This contribution has primarily been through the provision of industry placements - primarily placing students with the oil and gas regulator BEIS and CEFAS, completely a 3 month project. In addition, I arranged a student visit to the Underwater Centre in Fort William, where the students had an opportunity to get some hands on experience with ROVs and diving equipment.
Collaborator Contribution Partners attend forum meetings and contribute to discussions and help outline forum objectives etc.
Impact A BEIS/CEFAS 3 month studentship was completed in addition to the student visit to the Underwater Centre. This visit was primarily to give students an insight into potential career areas of the oil and gas industry. Feedback was very positive from both the students and the centre. If funding allows, the visit may be repeated.
Start Year 2015
 
Description MASTS Oil and Gas Forum 
Organisation Marine Scotland Science (MSS)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Having served as convenor for the forum for over 12 months, I stepped back to steering group member in 2017. As a member of the steering group (rather than as convenor) - I have found I have been able to contribute much more to the forum activities. This contribution has primarily been through the provision of industry placements - primarily placing students with the oil and gas regulator BEIS and CEFAS, completely a 3 month project. In addition, I arranged a student visit to the Underwater Centre in Fort William, where the students had an opportunity to get some hands on experience with ROVs and diving equipment.
Collaborator Contribution Partners attend forum meetings and contribute to discussions and help outline forum objectives etc.
Impact A BEIS/CEFAS 3 month studentship was completed in addition to the student visit to the Underwater Centre. This visit was primarily to give students an insight into potential career areas of the oil and gas industry. Feedback was very positive from both the students and the centre. If funding allows, the visit may be repeated.
Start Year 2015
 
Description MASTS Oil and Gas Forum 
Organisation Oil & Gas UK
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Having served as convenor for the forum for over 12 months, I stepped back to steering group member in 2017. As a member of the steering group (rather than as convenor) - I have found I have been able to contribute much more to the forum activities. This contribution has primarily been through the provision of industry placements - primarily placing students with the oil and gas regulator BEIS and CEFAS, completely a 3 month project. In addition, I arranged a student visit to the Underwater Centre in Fort William, where the students had an opportunity to get some hands on experience with ROVs and diving equipment.
Collaborator Contribution Partners attend forum meetings and contribute to discussions and help outline forum objectives etc.
Impact A BEIS/CEFAS 3 month studentship was completed in addition to the student visit to the Underwater Centre. This visit was primarily to give students an insight into potential career areas of the oil and gas industry. Feedback was very positive from both the students and the centre. If funding allows, the visit may be repeated.
Start Year 2015
 
Description MASTS Oil and Gas Forum 
Organisation Scottish Association For Marine Science
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Having served as convenor for the forum for over 12 months, I stepped back to steering group member in 2017. As a member of the steering group (rather than as convenor) - I have found I have been able to contribute much more to the forum activities. This contribution has primarily been through the provision of industry placements - primarily placing students with the oil and gas regulator BEIS and CEFAS, completely a 3 month project. In addition, I arranged a student visit to the Underwater Centre in Fort William, where the students had an opportunity to get some hands on experience with ROVs and diving equipment.
Collaborator Contribution Partners attend forum meetings and contribute to discussions and help outline forum objectives etc.
Impact A BEIS/CEFAS 3 month studentship was completed in addition to the student visit to the Underwater Centre. This visit was primarily to give students an insight into potential career areas of the oil and gas industry. Feedback was very positive from both the students and the centre. If funding allows, the visit may be repeated.
Start Year 2015
 
Description MASTS Oil and Gas Forum 
Organisation University of Aberdeen
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Having served as convenor for the forum for over 12 months, I stepped back to steering group member in 2017. As a member of the steering group (rather than as convenor) - I have found I have been able to contribute much more to the forum activities. This contribution has primarily been through the provision of industry placements - primarily placing students with the oil and gas regulator BEIS and CEFAS, completely a 3 month project. In addition, I arranged a student visit to the Underwater Centre in Fort William, where the students had an opportunity to get some hands on experience with ROVs and diving equipment.
Collaborator Contribution Partners attend forum meetings and contribute to discussions and help outline forum objectives etc.
Impact A BEIS/CEFAS 3 month studentship was completed in addition to the student visit to the Underwater Centre. This visit was primarily to give students an insight into potential career areas of the oil and gas industry. Feedback was very positive from both the students and the centre. If funding allows, the visit may be repeated.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Productive Seas Evidence Group 
Organisation Marine Science Co-ordination Committee
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution I joined the pre-existing Productive Seas Evidence Group, who report to the Marine Science Co-ordination Committee, in January 2016. My first meeting with the PSEG will be in March 2016. No contributions to date
Collaborator Contribution The specific role of PSEG is to ensure that appropriate mechanisms are in place to produce periodic assessments to identify the nature and influences that human activities have on the socio-economic uses of the marine environment. The responsibilities of PSEG will enable the UK to determine whether the available scientific and commercial data provide a reasonable scientific basis for concluding that the UK seas are productive.
Impact In 2015, the PSEG commissioned a report titled "A review of access to industry environmental Data";. This report through a stakeholder engagement plan identified the types of data collected by marine industries and the mechanisms by which industry data are made publicly available. I was engaged in this report as a stakeholder for the oil and gas industry, and contributed knowledge of the industry and environmental data. Following the final report publication, a workshop was held in London in February 2016, to further discuss the options to making industry environment more available. I helped with the organisation of the workshop, through dissemination of the event to my industry and academic network and facilitation on the day. The workshop outcomes will hopefully boost the access to industry data for use by researchers, industry and the public.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Society of Underwater Technology - Decommissioning working group 
Organisation BP (British Petroleum)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Member of steering group, responsible for contributing to meetings and helping organise the MASTS/SUT Decommissioning Workshop held at the MASTS ASM in October 2016. Helped organise and chair session at the October 2017 workshop. Contacting invited speakers, reviewing abstracts, undertaking workshop administration. Currently planning sessions for the 2018 workshop.
Collaborator Contribution To use the combined expertise from marine salvage, oil & gas decommissioning and marine science to influence, educate and unlock solutions to wreck removal and offshore energy challenges and opportunities. Three broad themes have been identified and will be met through delivery of the following activities: 1. Put forward a proposed programme for the annual MASTS/SUT Workshop on Decommissioning and Wreck Removal. 2. Identify other initiatives appropriate for the Work Group/SDC to support. 3. Share information on related / complimentary initiatives across industry.
Impact MASTS/SUT Decommissioning Workshop - October 2016; MASTS/SUT Decommissioning Workshop - October 2017.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Society of Underwater Technology - Decommissioning working group 
Organisation Decom North Sea
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Member of steering group, responsible for contributing to meetings and helping organise the MASTS/SUT Decommissioning Workshop held at the MASTS ASM in October 2016. Helped organise and chair session at the October 2017 workshop. Contacting invited speakers, reviewing abstracts, undertaking workshop administration. Currently planning sessions for the 2018 workshop.
Collaborator Contribution To use the combined expertise from marine salvage, oil & gas decommissioning and marine science to influence, educate and unlock solutions to wreck removal and offshore energy challenges and opportunities. Three broad themes have been identified and will be met through delivery of the following activities: 1. Put forward a proposed programme for the annual MASTS/SUT Workshop on Decommissioning and Wreck Removal. 2. Identify other initiatives appropriate for the Work Group/SDC to support. 3. Share information on related / complimentary initiatives across industry.
Impact MASTS/SUT Decommissioning Workshop - October 2016; MASTS/SUT Decommissioning Workshop - October 2017.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Society of Underwater Technology - Decommissioning working group 
Organisation Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Member of steering group, responsible for contributing to meetings and helping organise the MASTS/SUT Decommissioning Workshop held at the MASTS ASM in October 2016. Helped organise and chair session at the October 2017 workshop. Contacting invited speakers, reviewing abstracts, undertaking workshop administration. Currently planning sessions for the 2018 workshop.
Collaborator Contribution To use the combined expertise from marine salvage, oil & gas decommissioning and marine science to influence, educate and unlock solutions to wreck removal and offshore energy challenges and opportunities. Three broad themes have been identified and will be met through delivery of the following activities: 1. Put forward a proposed programme for the annual MASTS/SUT Workshop on Decommissioning and Wreck Removal. 2. Identify other initiatives appropriate for the Work Group/SDC to support. 3. Share information on related / complimentary initiatives across industry.
Impact MASTS/SUT Decommissioning Workshop - October 2016; MASTS/SUT Decommissioning Workshop - October 2017.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Society of Underwater Technology - Decommissioning working group 
Organisation Society for Underwater Technology
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Learned Society 
PI Contribution Member of steering group, responsible for contributing to meetings and helping organise the MASTS/SUT Decommissioning Workshop held at the MASTS ASM in October 2016. Helped organise and chair session at the October 2017 workshop. Contacting invited speakers, reviewing abstracts, undertaking workshop administration. Currently planning sessions for the 2018 workshop.
Collaborator Contribution To use the combined expertise from marine salvage, oil & gas decommissioning and marine science to influence, educate and unlock solutions to wreck removal and offshore energy challenges and opportunities. Three broad themes have been identified and will be met through delivery of the following activities: 1. Put forward a proposed programme for the annual MASTS/SUT Workshop on Decommissioning and Wreck Removal. 2. Identify other initiatives appropriate for the Work Group/SDC to support. 3. Share information on related / complimentary initiatives across industry.
Impact MASTS/SUT Decommissioning Workshop - October 2016; MASTS/SUT Decommissioning Workshop - October 2017.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Design for Decommissioning - Opportunities for Marine Science 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Currently in the process of organising the Design for Decommissioning - Opportunities for Marine Science Workshop, to be held on 6th March 2018. Designing offshore structures for decommissioning, allows engineers to take lessons learned from current decommissioning plans and learn from the issues encountered, therefore potentially improving future decommissioning efficiency, reducing costs, improving safety and reducing the overall decommissioning footprint (waste, environmental etc.).
In the same way, we can take lessons learned from environmental and marine science issues associated with decommissioning and determine how these issues may be overcome at the design stage.
The aim of the workshop is to bring together academic researchers and industry with the purpose to discuss potential challenges, opportunities and innovation within marine science, that if implemented and incorporated at the design stage of an installation, will enable better environmental management throughout the lifecycle of the facility. It is intended that some research opportunities may arise from the output of the workshop.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Ecosystem Benefits Mapping Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Co-organisation and facilitation at 2 workshops, one held in Aberdeen and one held in Wick. The aim of the workshops was to explore, discuss and map the ecosystem services provided by biodiversity and seascape within Aberdeen Bay and the Cromarty Coastline; and understand how these services support a range of social, economic and ecological activities and benefits. Workshop objectives:
a. Explore the distribution of existing and future activities within Aberdeen Bay/Cromarty relating to conservation; maritime industry; recreation and tourism in order to understand the multiple uses of the area and the adequacy of existing data to support local planning and management;
b. Identify and map the multiple benefits that communities and industries obtain from activities in Aberdeen Bay/Cromarty; how these activities are spatially distributed; and how they link to natural features and support wellbeing.
c. Discuss and deliberate how services and benefits are provided by protected sites, habitats and features within Aberdeen Bay/Cromarty
d. Identify potential indicators and data sources for managing and maximising the services within Aberdeen Bay/Cromarty.
The outputs from the workshops have been mapped and the resulting publication is currently in progress. It is hoped that a similar workshop will be planned to look at potential decommissioning options in the Firth of Forth.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description MASTS/SUT Decommissioning Workshop - Presentation 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Presentation of project overview at the MASTS/SUT Decommissioning workshop. The presentation covered project aims and methods, results were not available at time of presentation as the project is on-going. The presentation encourage additional dialogue with industry and academic colleagues which may result in potential collaboration on similar projects and future research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description MASTS/SUT Decommissioning Workshop - Session Chair 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Organisation and co-chair of the "Environmental Perceptions of Jacket Decommissioning Scenarios" at the 2017 MASTS/SUT Decommissioning & Wreck Removal Workshop. The session involved the 100+ delegates providing their opinion and perception to a number of decommissioning related questions: 1. What baseline should we measure environmental impacts against?; 2. What are the most important environmental considerations relevant to decommissioning?; and 3. What are the consequences of decommissioning to the marine environment? Results were collated and will be disseminated to the delegates shortly. In addition, this workshop carries on from a MASTS led OSPAR workshop, that looked at collating the same types of perceptions from an academic group. These 2 sets of reports will be compiled into a report and publication in due course.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Presentation at INSITE Seminar 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The Influence of Man-made Structures in the North Sea: Building the Evidence-base seminar was hosted in Aberdeen on December 11th 2017 in order to target Oil and Gas Industry members who were unable to attend the London meeting in October 2017. I was invited to present results of this project to the audience given the close link between this project and the INSITE Programme. The seminar gave an opportunity to explore potential areas of further project development and collaboration.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012,2017
 
Description SciBAr Installations Network 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact The SciBAr Installations Network is being developed to bring together a transdisciplinary team of experts to conduct a 360-degree review of the regulation of offshore energy installations in the Arctic. The primary objective is to establish a trans-disciplinary network of academics that collaborate in teams to undertake research in areas of identified which together contribute to a comprehensive pool of knowledge that can be utilised to ensure science-based regulation of such installations. En route to this objective is the aim of bringing together online scientific, social and legal knowledge pertaining to Arctic Offshore Energy Installations that will benefit a wider community of actors and stakeholders including, inter alia, academics, industries, and local communities as well as environmental NGOs. As part of the project development, a first workshop was convened at the University of Aberdeen on the 10-12 January 2018 to address three priority areas, identifying:
1. knowledge and understanding of the threats and impacts of and to offshore installations in the Arctic (covering, for instance, engineering, anthropology, economic, biology, large marine ecosystems, all marine mammals, and marine plants);
2. gaps in knowledge and understanding; and
3. current regulatory responses and potential regulatory governance responses.
It is intended that the workshop will lead to the submission of projects to relevant funding calls,
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.scibarinstallations.org.uk/
 
Description Seabed Surveying Guidelines Working Group 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The Oil and Gas Industry, via Oil and Gas UK are creating working guidelines for the surveying and monitoring of the seabed (in relation to oil and gas operations and/or decommissioning). I was a member of the working group providing insight into environmental data (including access to data portals and databases etc.) and providing guidance on survey and sampling methodologies. Members of the working group were also asked to provide feedback to the mapping application created with the industry seabed survey data - feedback was incorporated into app development.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017