New Zealand standards for offshore installations
The overall aim of operators in managing the environmental impact of their offshore petroleum activities should be three-fold:
- to meet the requirements imposed by the regulatory system(s) under which they operate
- to achieve control of all known environmental risks through the application of due diligence
- to continuously improve their environmental performance.
Oil Spill Contingency Planning
Marine Protection Rule - Part 131 provides rules for offshore installations, to reduce the risk of pollution of the marine environment by spills of oil from operations during offshore mineral exploration and exploitation.
Part 131 is concerned with oil spill contingency planning and associated certification and risk reduction for offshore installations.
Part 131 gives effect to the provisions of the:
- International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Cooperation (OPRC 1990).
Part 131 includes the requirement for an oil spill contingency plan to explain how the operator will reduce the risk of an oil spill and, in the event of an oil spill incident, respond to a spill of oil from their operations.
All offshore installations operating in New Zealand waters are affected by Part 131. Different record book standards apply however, depending on if the offshore installation is situated within or beyond the 12 nautical mile limit.
Consenting of Environmental Effects
Discharges within the 12 nautical mile limit
Marine pollution regulations and regional coastal plans developed under the Resource Management Act cover discharges within the coastal marine area (12 nautical mile limit). Regional Councils are responsible for administration and enforcement of these regulations.
Certain rules of Part 131 also apply, namely those relating to the international standards for recording discharges and oil spill contingency planning and response to marine oil spills.
Discharges beyond the 12 nautical mile limit
The Environment Protection Authority has responsibility for consenting environmental effects of offshore mineral exploration and exploitation under the Exclusive Economic Zone and Extended Continental Shelf Act and associated regulations. These responsibilities extend to the effects of placing items on the seafloor, discharging chemicals and oil and dumping of wastes at sea.
Certain rules of Part 131 also apply, namely those relating oil spill contingency planning and response to marine oil spills.Environmental Protection Agency [www.epa.govt.nz]