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Onshore Environmental Risks - Spills

Spills from onshore facilities, including pipelines, can occur due to leaks, equipment failure, accidents, and human error or as a result of third party interference. Develop a spill prevention and control plan.

Additional spill prevention and control measures specific to onshore oil and gas facilities include:

  1. Conduct a spill risk assessment for the facilities and design, drilling, process, and utility systems to reduce the risk of major uncontained spills;
  2. Ensure adequate corrosion allowance for the lifetime of the facilities or installation of corrosion control and prevention systems in all pipelines, process equipment, and tanks;
  3. Install secondary containment around vessels and tanks to contain accidental releases;
  4. Install shutdown valves to allow early shutdown or isolation in the event of a spill;
  5. Develop automatic shutdown actions through an emergency shutdown system for significant spill scenarios so that the facility may be rapidly brought into a safe condition;
  6. Install leak detection systems. On pipelines consider measures such as telemetry systems, Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA9), pressure sensors, shut-in valves, and pump-off systems,
  7. Develop corrosion maintenance and monitoring programs to ensure the integrity of all field equipment. For pipelines, maintenance programs should include regular pigging to clean the pipeline, and intelligent pigging should be considered as required;
  8. Ensure adequate personnel training in oil spill prevention, containment, and response;
  9. Ensure spill response and containment equipment is deployed or available for a response.

All spills should be documented and reported. Following a spill, a root cause investigation should be carried out and corrective actions should be undertaken to prevent reoccurrence.

A Spill Response Plan should be prepared, and the capability to implement the plan should be in place. The Spill Response Plan should address potential oil, chemical, and fuel spills from facilities, transport vehicles, loading and unloading operations, and pipeline ruptures. The plan should include:

  1. A description of the operations, site conditions, logistic support and oil properties
  2. Identification of persons responsible for managing spill response efforts, including their authority, roles and contact details
  3. Documentation of cooperative measures with government agencies as appropriate
  4. Spill risk assessment, defining expected frequency and size of spills from different potential release sources
  5. Oil spill trajectory in potentially affected surface water bodies, with oil fate and environmental impact prediction for a number of credible most-probable spill simulations (including a worst case scenario, such as blowout from an oil well) using an adequate and internationally recognized computer model
  6. Clear demarcation of spill severity, according to the size of the spill using a clearly defined Tier I, Tier II and Tier III approach
  7. Strategies and equipment for managing Tier I spills at a minimum
  8. Arrangements and procedures to mobilize external resources for responding to larger spills and strategies for deployment
  9. Full list, description, location, and use of on-site and off-site response equipment and the response time estimates for deploying equipment
  10. Sensitivity mapping of the environment at risk. Information should include: soil types; groundwater and surface water resources; sensitive ecological and protected areas; agricultural land; residential, industrial, recreational, cultural, and landscape features of significance; seasonal aspects for relevant features, and oil spill response types to be deployed
  11. Identification of response priorities, with input from potentially affected or concerned parties
  12. Clean up strategies and handling instructions for recovered oil, chemicals, fuels or other recovered contaminated materials, including their transportation, temporary storage, and treatment / disposal
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  • ASMAA - Algarve Surf and Marine Activities Association
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