Ecosystem services are the benefits that people derive from the environment and biodiversity (i.e. the flow of benefits provided by natural capital). Biodiversity comprises the habitats, species and genetic material that form the basis of ecosystems, thereby underpinning all ecosystem services.
The oil and gas industry both depends upon BES (e.g. through consuming water and natural materials and, in places, being afforded natural storm and flood protection), and potentially impacts upon ecosystem services (e.g. through depletion, displacement and pollution). Growing awareness of these interactions with ecosystem services is resulting in increasingly material risks and opportunities for oil and gas companies.
There are three main aims of this guide.
- Firstly, it explains the relationship between biodiversity, ecosystem services and the oil and gas industry, and provides three relevant case studies.
- Secondly, it provides a set of checklists to help identify the main ecosystem service dependencies and impacts of oil and gas developments. Separate checklists are provided that cover different parts of the oil and gas E&P lifecycle for various different habitat types, onshore and offshore.
- Thirdly, it highlights key associated risks and opportunities for oil and gas companies, and provides guidance on potential measures for managing them.
The checklists are a focused set of prompts rather than an interactive tool, and are by no means a comprehensive list of all dependencies and impacts. Every project has its own particular context, and professional input will always be necessary to ensure all risks and opportunities are appropriately identified and managed. This checklist guide is intended as an initial introduction to the subject rather than a best practice or implementation manual.
The checklists have been designed in particular for technical HSE professionals at the site (field) and/or corporate level to help them understand the implications of ecosystem services for their operations in whichever habitats are relevant. The guide is also aimed at public affairs and other interested personnel to provide an overview of this increasingly important topic.
Download the guide here.