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Germany Assessment of Discharges, Spills and Emissions from Offshore Oil and Gas Installations in 2013 -17

Executive Summary

This report presents the discharge, spills and emission data from offshore oil and gas operations on the German Continental Shelf (GCS) of the North Sea over the period 2013-2017 and the assessment of the data. The data on which the assessment is based is published by OSPAR.

Level of Activity

The German Continental Shelf ( GCS) is a mature area within the OSPAR region but still provides exploration  opportunities.
The level of activity is presently relatively low, comprising 2-3 wells drilled annually.
The total production figures of oil, gas and condensate produced from a total of 2 fixed installations were relatively stable at slightly above 1 Mio toeq annually.
Produced water is the only contributor to planned oil discharges to sea from the petroleum industry.

Full Report

Discharges and spills of oil

Overall the quantity of dispersed1 oil ( aliphatic oil) discharged to sea via produced water decreased significantly during the reporting period, dropping from  0,20 tonnes in 2013 to 0,01 tonnes in 2017 due to fundamental technical upgrades on the  discharging platform. The discharges for the single years during the period varied depending on shut down times due to construction works, the number of wells produced and changing geological conditions.
There were no oil spills to sea on the GCS between 2013 and 2017.     

OSPAR Commission
a. Chemicals

The use and discharge of chemical substances have been regulated by OSPAR protocols since the beginning of 2001 and have been implemented into German regulatory practice by means of the operation plan procedure (Betriebsplanverfahren) in accordance with German mining law.
The annual total quantity of chemicals discharged depends very much on the number of wells drilled within the respective year in the German Exclusive Economic Zone
(EEZ).
Within the reporting period this varied between 0-2 wells per year.

b. Atmospheric emissions

Atmospheric emissions are not regulated by OSPAR measures but they are reported annually to OSPAR.
The trend of emissions to the atmosphere has been stable in the German sector at a comparatively low level. An exemption has been the year 2017 where due to special one off activities the figures were generally higher. Nearly all the emissions are caused by gas turbines installed on the two platforms.

1 “Aliphatics” and “aromatics” are defined by the reference method set in OSPAR Agreement 2005-15 (Sovent extraction, Infra-Red measurement at 3 wavelengths). In that context, “aliphatics” and “dispersed oil” mean the same thing.