Onshore Oil and Gas Regulation

2015 - 2019


Project description and aims

The intense public debate on the shale gas industry has brought the spotlight on the whole onshore oil and gas industry, how it is regulated and what is considered best practice for the industry.

The EU regulatory framework has recently been assessed by the European Commission (EC), which published a ‘Recommendation’ for minimum principles for the extraction of hydrocarbons (including shale gas) using hydraulic fracturing, with the intension to review its implementation in August 2015. However, this work did not look at the existing practices of the onshore oil and gas industry.

Furthermore, a comprehensive review of the BREF for the Management of Waste from the Extractive Industries Directive has been initiated, and will include, for the first time, recommendations to include waste derived from the onshore oil and gas industry – both conventional and unconventional.

The publication of the EC’s Recommendation (and forthcoming review in 2015), coupled with the on-going review of the BREF, are important milestones in setting the future direction of how the onshore oil and gas industry is regulated in Europe.

Phase I & II

This firt phase of the project aimed to look at existing best practice in the broader onshore oil and gas industry across Europe, with a view to learn lessons and identify best practice across Member States.

Project aims:

  • Identify common approaches and legislative interpretations across Member States on the implementation of EU Directives for the onshore oil and gas industry
  • Identify good practise (BAT) in the industry, across the different regulatory regimes
  • Identify any gaps in the regulatory process
  • Share experiences of implementation, compliance, enforcement and monitoring of different aspects of the industry (e.g. waste, flaring, groundwater, water usage).

Phase III

The aim of the second phase is to build upon the work of 2015, 2016 and 2017 and to review in much greater detail participants’ approaches on a number of critical issues, with a view, wherever possible, to defining, sharing and promoting best practice. The project aims to help regulators to feel more confident in delivering consistent and reliable information to the public, industry and policy-makers. It may also avoid duplication of effort, and promote consistent and proportionate regulation across and beyond the IMPEL network. Finally, it could inform and support dialogue with regulators in non-IMPEL countries which have developed, or are developing their industry.

Exepected outcomes

  1. A more coherent understanding of the onshore oil and gas industry’s environmental record
  2. A fuller picture of what regulators consider to be best practice on key issues
  3. Consistency in implementation and enforcement of regulation across IMPEL members
  4. Capacity-building for regulators
  5. Greater public trust in regulators and their decisions
  6. Useful and reliable information for policy-makers and BREF authors

Number: 2015/03 - 2016/03 - 2017/02 - 2018/02 - 2019/02 – Status: Completed – Period: 2015 - 2019 – Topic: Industry and air - Tags:

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