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BP – the north sea experience. Mike MASON Senior Environmental Advisor, BP. BP – the north sea experience. Flaring a significant source of environmental impact through the emission of greenhouse gases, products combustion, visual impact and noise

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bp the north sea experience

BP – the north sea experience


Senior Environmental Advisor, BP

bp the north sea experience2
BP – the north sea experience
  • Flaring a significant source of environmental impact through the emission of greenhouse gases, products combustion, visual impact and noise
  • Flaring a significant financial cost in terms of hydrocarbon loss and energy utilization

What are we doing about it?

bp north sea experience
BP – north sea experience
  • The flare story in the North Sea
    • The construction of gas infrastructure to avoid the disposal of associated gas.
    • Operational flare reduction through policies, procedures and best practice in design and operation of oil/gas separation and injection equipment, to reduce oil flow or produce from lower GOR wells in the event of equipment failure.
    • Move towards zero flaring - such as zero or inert purge, pilotless flares.
    • People – our most valuable asset and their response to our leadership vision
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BP – north sea experience


  • The Forties era…. big fields & little market for gas
  • The era of BP Flare Systems - Kaldair - a wholly-owned BP subsidiary selling flare technology.
  • UK Govt (DTI) first intervention - Magnus gas disposal design & gas export line
  • An era for the conservation for loss of energy…
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BP – north sea experience

1980’s - A time of plenty…

  • Big field developments
  • A time of expansion
  • Developing gas markets
  • Oil price collapse in late 1980’s
  • And still no focus on flaring as an environmental issue
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BP – north sea experience


Smaller & isolated fields, Atlantic Margins developments, more public awareness of environmental impacts……


a commitment to using its Guidance Note on Flaring, downward trend supported by UK Government/UKOOA’s flare trading voluntary pilot scheme

  • CRINE - Cost Reduction Initiative for the New Era
    • reduced projects costs by more than 30%
    • risk based approach in construction & maintenance &
    • led to smaller less complex platforms
    • impact on flaring?
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BP – north sea experience

1990’s – The Dawn of Process?

  • Norwegian CO2 Tax – wider discussion and debate
  • John Browne CEO public ‘precautionary’ commitment to
    • leadership vision on Climate Change & part of solution
    • set targets, a 10% reduction from our 1990 GHG baseline by 2010
    • achieved by 2001
  • North Sea Millennium Environmental Challenge (MECA)
    • reduce emissions by 50% excluded GHG emissions by end 99
  • BP Exploration ‘Upstream Environmental Expectations’
    • Leadership recognition on need for improvement
    • Aspirational expectations including flaring & venting
    • To eliminate routine flaring & venting by 2001/2003
  • Flare Trading Club – voluntary trading of flare consents, no money involved, still current and changes behaviours.
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BP – north sea experience
  • 2000 to date - where are we?
  • The challenge is still considerable….small fields, tie backs, flaring for production challenged, regulatory controls, EU Directives applied offshore …
  • BP is committed to continuous improvement in emissions/production - our operational footprint across the BP Group through:
  • an new environmental practice – Environmental Requirements for
  • New Projects (ERNP) – new flaring and venting requirements &
  • focus on new projects.
  • identifying and implementing "efficiency" projects on existing
  • operations.
  • BP E&P North Sea has made very good progress towards this target
      • In Andrew, Clair & Harding flaring projects
      • Norwegian projects driven by carbon tax
  • E & P moving to address these issues through a “low carbon
  • plan” that aims to continuously reduce GHG emissions per unit
  • of production
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BP – north sea experience

2000 to date – More Process…

  • Upstream Environmental Expectations
    • Now matured into our new Group Environmental Requirements for New Projects (ERNP) Practice.
  • Upstream trading
    • 2003 internal trading very successful on BP staff behaviour & engagement and implemented some cost effective reductions
    • 2004 BP entered UK Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) which includes flaring, our installations have opted out of the European Union ETS(EUETS) until 2007.
    • 2005 European Union ETS(EUETS)…… flaring not currently included
    • 2008 EUETS Phase II will include flaring
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BP – north sea experience
  • 2000 to date – People Today
    • Flaring & Venting Network – essential to have, connecting professionals to information and resources to assist in flaring reduction.
    • Good spread of internal level expertise & skills on flaring & venting e.g, participating in the development of the World Bank Voluntary Flaring & Venting Standard.
    • Our Project HSSE Reviews (PHSSER’s) challenge process
    • Staff at awareness & appreciation for what is routinely going to flare through GHG campaigns, energy workshops and competitions and our innovation award scheme – ‘Helios Awards’

Good local example - a GHG Competition on Magnus with a winning prize of £1000 per team member (max of 3 per team) for the best idea. Received over 25 ideas from across the asset.

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BP – north sea experience

Today’s Processes – internal & external

  • Flare Policy The most notable asset today is the site flare policies and the check list.
  • Self assessment guidelines – a useful tool
  • Use of ISO14001 to drive internal continuous improvement
  • UK Government drive to mitigate production flaring by regulatory controls/permitting and environmental pollution controls
  • New Environmental Performance Requirements – defines our mandatory requirements for flaring & venting.
  • Well test challenges – Senior executive approval robust case
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BP – north sea experience
  • Today’s actions and outcomes
    • North Sea’s contribution to our exploration portfolio is:
      • ~14% of BP’s E&P direct GHG portfolio
      • ~ 0.6 or ~ 32 scf/boe of our North Sea (2005) annual
      • production(boe)
      • Metrics we use to engage staff……
    • As an example of our 2006 forecast Harding proposes:
      • To include Plant Loop tuning, green compressor
      • reliability and valve leakage survey and remedial
      • works – a significant movement
    • In our plant we are implementing new designs to mitigate
    • flaring, use of high integrity pressure systems, emergency
    • relief valves that don’t burst, low bleed packs, packing Integrity….
    • With no production flaring ouraim is to reduce our GHG emissions per unit of production
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BP – north sea experience
  • Flaring reduction feedback from the North Sea on the smaller gains:
    • Reduce process upsets,
    • No weeping valves,
    • Manage Purge rates i.e. metering,
    • Decent stable flare tips
    • Managing to prevent deterioration
    • Staged flaring - Synchronisation in start-up & shutdown
    • Zero contingency flaring, inert gas percussion caps
  • Finally, people – work with your staff to have a good appreciation for what is routinely going to flare so that they will know rather than believe they are performing well.

BP – north sea experience

Environmental Performance Requirement - EPR7

7.1 BP shall not develop or operate a facility that disposes of stranded gas to either flare or vent.

7.2 Elimination of continuous and routine flaring and venting will represent the base case in project design.

7.3 Early production facilities with potential to generate large sources of flaring and venting will be by exception only.

7.4 Operations shall minimise large operational sources of flaring and venting.

7.5 Operations with large operational sources of flaring and venting shall develop a flare and vent policy.

7.6 Well testing requiring flaring shall be by exception only.

7.7 A plan to minimise emissions shall be developed for all well work or well activities.

1st November 2006