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Study warns over risks from offshore natural gas extraction in East Med

June 22, 2018 at 6:15pm
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A study of the Cyprus Institute (CyI) identifies three main environmental risks during offshore natural gas extraction in the Eastern Mediterranean.

This research was funded by the European Parliament’s Science and Technology Options Assessment (STOA), following a proposal by Cypriot MEP Neoklis Sylikiotis and was presented to the media on Friday.

The three main categories of environmental risks that have been identified are the risk of accidental blowouts, the accidental discharge of chemicals during the various stages of exploration, and the emission of Greenhouse Gases (GHG) during normal operations, either as CO2 from the numerous sub-processes of exploration and production, or from the fugitive methane emissions in the various subsystems.

“The Eastern Mediterranean is a closed sea and any accident would cause enormous problems in the region, in the environment, but also in tourism” said Sylikiotis during the press conference held at the CyI. He pointed out that it is important to investigate the best new technologies in order to achieve the optimal extraction of natural gas in the Eastern Mediterranean with full safety and environmental protection.

The study also assesses the role of new technological trends in environmental protection in natural gas extraction, focusing on technologies for offshore operations in the Eastern Mediterranean. The main technological trends identified in the study are the new developments in Blowout Preventers (BOPs), new seismic surveying equipment, new trends in robotics and the gradual process of moving all business activities onto digital platforms in the oil and gas industry.

“The environmental risks that arise from these activities constitute a regional problem that requires a solution at regional level” Chairman of the CyI Costas Papanikolaou noted.

The study suggests some policy options that are presented in three main groups: Policies targeting environmental, health and safety issues directly, policies targeting data sharing and collaboration and policies targeting the reduction of GHG emissions.