Essays on Impact of BHP Billiton on the Natural Environment Case Study

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The paper “ Impact of BHP Billiton on the Natural Environment” is an excellent example of a case study on environmental studies. BHP Billiton is an excellent business, built on the corresponding strengths of two successful companies including BHP and Billiton. The Bay development is just a part of the BHP business that came on stream at the end of 1995. Today, the business accounts for 1% of hydrocarbons in total produced in the country (Gilliver 1998). The program under BHP Petroleum Limited (BHPB) one of the strongest bodies of the BHP Billiton group of companies.

The Bay facilities ideally comprise five producing gas and oil fields. Its onshore and offshore facilities associated with the transportation, extraction, and processing of the oil reserves (Global Maritime 1992). Discovered during the late 1990s, the fields yield in excess of 150 million oil barrels and more than 1 trillion in cubic feet of gas (Gilliver 1998). In 2009, ideally as part of the Bay program, a new exploration well was to start, located in the unexplored region. The 110/13b-21 or Bel-Air well is located roughly 3 km to the SE of the Douglas platform and is to be drilled precisely as a stand-alone well, to be abandoned and plugged (Gilliver 1998).

The primary goal of the good project is to test for the availability of hydrocarbons in the Permian Sandstone (Hammond et al 2002, p. 361 – 376). This report is an environmental impact assessment covering the environmental impacts, which associate with the drilling of this established well in the region. An evaluation of the Bay area, environmental data shows that the region shows environmental conditions purely characteristic of the eastern side of the Irish Sea.

It is a gently shelving area, shallow, with an average depth of 50 meters or less. All through most of the Irish Sea, large tidal range and strong tidal currents ensure good mixing of the seawater (McConnell et al 1999, p. 573 – 590). However, in the eastern Irish shallow Sea, significant inputs of freshwater from the rivers can ideally at times result in the water column stratification. The Sea including the surrounding coastline is of exceptional value in conservation terms, especially relating to birds (Bennett et al 1997, p.

549-558). There are many coastal conservation sites relatively in the northeastern Irish Sea showing a variety of international, local, and national non-statutory and statutory site designations (McConnell et al 1999, p. 573 – 590). The large estuaries in the region are of particular relevance for both international and national populations of birds. There are eleven breeding colonies of the seabird holding numbers at 1% of the British bird population in the Bay area (Gilliver 1998). The area is also in support of a wide range spectrum of valuable marine with activities ranging from offshore wind farms, to traditional fisheries, and gravel and hydrocarbon extraction. During the consultation, a practice associated with other the environmental impact assessments of the Bay; a more focused and integrated approach to EIAs has been under development.

This approach was first in use for the Hamilton East EIA meeting with general approval from regulators. As a result, BHPB has applied this approach again to the assessment of prevailing environmental impacts associated with the Bel Air well activities in drilling (Bennett et al 1997, p.

549-558). The approach design is to address all issues with the perceived potential or potential, to cause harm to the environment in the Bay. EIA is a process that produces a document that takes that name environmental statement (ES) (ERT 1993b). Risk assessment should be of practical use. The main objective of this assessment is the provision of a public account of the environmental impacts associated with this new well and its activities in drilling (ERT 1993b). However, it is reasonable to note that problem with environmental risk assessment is generally the lack of agreement on exactly what environmental risks are of value.

What is insignificant to a particular individual may well be of value to another (ERT 1993b). Although guidance ideally exists for risks influencing groups or individual human beings, it does not ideally exist for risks, which affect the environment as a whole or part of its nonhuman components (Rees & Walker 1993, p. 165-169). To develop a compensation for this lack of definition, the BHPB Company has adopted an extra step in its risk assessment process.

The company is introducing Issue Identification (ERT 1993b). The issue identification ensures that all kinds of hazards with the perceived potential or potential, to cause appreciable harm to humans and/or to the region’ s environment, are addressed after it is identified (Rudall Blanchard Associates Ltd 2008). This provides an outstanding focus on the overall assessment (Meyers and Quinn 1993, p. 32-44). Rather than the provision of its own definition of significance, the company, BHPB has reviewed each hazard systematically against three criteria in determining whether a particular hazard is an issue of concern (Rees & Walker 1993, p.

165-169). These criteria selection is to reflect the individual opinions and of as a range of people mainly derived from science-informed opinion, performance standards, and risk perception. Conversely, each issue identified in this way is, assessed subsequently in detail and the results of the assessment are, discussed under issue-specific headings in the broad environmental statement. The risks, which emerge from the process of issue identification include among others Global warming, species, and Habitat Conservation, Physical facilities presence, sediment, and Water Quality, Oil spill risk (Global Maritime 1992), and other Cumulative impacts (ERT 1993a). BHPB has established a workable Sustainable Development Policy directing the management of the environmental risk in the region (Gilliver 1998).

The BHPB Management Team acknowledges the potential impacts, which the operations associated ideally with the extraction of gas and oil could have on the area’ s environment (Global Maritime 1992). In LB, risk management is an integral part ideally of the business management system applied across all the prevailing business units (ERT 1993a). The Bay Management System for the environment (EMS) operates particularly in compliance with the Sustainable Development Policy and the BHP Billiton Charter (Meyers and Quinn 1993, p.

32-44). The system draws on the Australian safety and Health Executive's publication as, 'Successful Safety and Health Management' - HS (G) 65 - and the International Standard principles for Environmental Management Systems (ISO14001 2004) (Bennett et al 1997, p. 549-558). To facilitate its policies and plans in attaining sustainable development for the region, several measures should be in place to help prevent oil spills from the well that would pollute the environment.

Oil spill prevention should be supremely relevant as an aspect of BHPB’ s Bay operations (Rees & Walker 1993, p. 165-169). Primary measures for defense should be integrated into the established design of the facilities including bringing the drill rig into the field and equipping them with a blow out preventers (BOPs). This is to help control the good pressures, which could be devastating just in case of an emergency. The BOPs should also, be tested at least every 14 days to help ascertain that they are okay and operational. The company also needs to put in place a field-wide radar monitoring system preventing ship collision and support vessels for the radar.

There should also be secondary measures that relate to the general operation of the facilities including BHPB considering all potential emergency/ accidental scenarios ensuring resources are and procedures in place for control, prevention,   and mitigation. Additionally, procedures should be in place to minimize all kinds of operational spills and leaks (Wiens 1996, p. 587-97). There is also a need for clean-up equipment being made available on the facilities as well as support vessels that help deal with spillages.

Finally, there is a necessity for rig/platform personnel training to enhance their skills in operating and maintaining the safeguards and establish a satisfactory working order for the company.


Bennett, D et al 1997, “Environmental effects of produced water from North Sea oil operations” Marine Pollution Bulletin 18:10, 549-558

ERT 1993a, Environmental Appraisal for the Lennox Oil and Gas Development Block 110/15, Liverpool Bay, ERT, June 1993

ERT 1993b, Environmental Appraisal for the Douglas Oil and Gas Development Block 110/13, Liverpool Bay, ERT, June 1993

Gilliver, R.E 1998, Conservation partnerships as part of environmental management in a sensitive coastal location: Liverpool Bay oil and gas production operations, UK SPE 46495

Global Maritime 1992, “Study of comparative risk of pollution from ship-ship collision or pipeline rupture” A report prepared for Hamilton Brothers Oil and Gas Limited by Global Maritime Ltd

Hammond, P et al 2002, “Abundance of harbor porpoise and other cetaceans in the North Sea and adjacent waters” Journal of Applied Ecology, 39, pp 361 – 376

Meyers, P.A. and Quinn, J.G 1993,”Association of hydrocarbons and mineral particles in saline solution” Nature, 224, 32-44

McConnell, B et al 1999, “Movements and foraging areas of grey seals in the North Sea” Journal of Applied Ecology, 36: 573 – 590

Rees, E.I.S. & Walker, A.J.M 1993, Annual and spatial variation in the Abra community in Liverpool Bay” Oceanologica Acta (Special Volume) 165-169

Rudall Blanchard Associates Ltd. (2008). Prospect A (110/13D & 110/14B) exploration well environmental statement. Issue 01, July 2008. Prepared for EOG Resources United Kingdom Limited by Rudall Blanchard Associates Ltd. pp 109

Wiens, J 1996, “Oil, seabirds, and science: the effect of the Exxon Valdez oil spill” Bio-Science 46(8):587-97

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