An environmental risk assessment framework for enhanced oil recovery solutions from offshore oil and gas industry
Environmental risk assessments are necessary to understand the risk associated with enhanced oil recovery (EOR) solutions and to provide decision support for choosing the best technology and implementing risk-reducing measures. This study presents a review of potentially relevant environmental/ecological risk assessment (ERA) guidelines and, based on this review, proposes an initial suggestion of an ERA framework for understanding the environmental impacts from EOR solutions. We first shortlist the important elements necessary for conducting an ERA of EOR solutions from the selected guidelines. These elements are then used to build the suggested ERA framework for produced water discharges, drilling discharges and emissions to air from EOR solutions, which is the primary objective of the present study. Furthermore, the emphasis is placed on identifying the knowledge gaps that exist for conducting ERA of EOR processes. In order to link the framework with the current best environmental practices, a review of environmental policies applicable to the marine environment around the European Union (EU) was conducted. Finally, some major challenges in the application of ERA methods for novel EOR technologies, i.e. uncertainties in the ERA due to lack of data and aggregation of risk from different environmental impacts, are discussed in detail. The frameworks suggested in this study should be possible to use by relevant stakeholders to assess environmental risk from enhanced oil recovery solutions.