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Since 1974, IPIECA has convened industry and stakeholders to work on a broad range of environmental topics associated with oil and gas operations. This allows IPIECA members to identify and address environmental risks and impacts, facilitate the sustainable use of natural resources and promote environmental good practice throughout the supply chain. IPIECA is also working to advance environmental performance across the energy transition, ensuring its delivery does not affect local ecosystems as well as sharing its environmental good practice and expertise with energy sectors beyond oil and gas.

Environmental management good practice

IPIECA develops, shares and promotes good practice and knowledge to help the oil and gas industry improve its environmental stewardship. Our suite of world-leading, freely available good practice guidance enables members and the wider global industry to adopt responsible environmental practices.

In 2020, IPIECA jointly with the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (IOGP) launched the second edition of Environmental management in the upstream oil and gas industry. The report serves as an introductory document on managing the risk from potential impacts to the natural environment during the exploration and production of oil and gas.

Monitoring emerging issues and trends

IPIECA continuously scans the horizon for any emerging issues that relate to the oil and gas industry and the environment. Horizon scanning exercises equip IPIECA members with an understanding of how environmental trends, regulations and policies might evolve in the future, and the impact this may have on environmental management practices.

One key area of focus is impact assessments. Conducting project specific Environmental, Social, and Health Impact Assessments (ESHIAs) has become an integral part of oil and gas industry project planning, permitting, and management processes. IPIECA works to improve member understanding and competence around evolving expectations and trends related to ESHIAs, such as the growing expectation that climate change risks be incorporated in ESHIAs.

Nature-based solutions

Nature-based solutions (NBS) are one of the most cost-effective mitigation strategies for climate change and a key enabler of the energy transition, whilst providing simultaneous benefits to human well-being and biodiversity. As part of the 2021-2024 strategy, IPIECA will leverage member expertise and collaborate with external stakeholders to enhance the sustainable scale up of NBS. IPIECA is uniquely placed to explore the cross-cutting environmental and social aspects of NBS, and enable companies to address local and global risks and opportunities associated with climate change.

Mercury management

For the past 150 years, increased human industrial activity has generated significant environmental releases of mercury, a recognised toxin which can have adverse human health effects.

In 2012, following a UNEP initiative to develop a global limit on human-made mercury emissions, IPIECA published data demonstrating that the refining sector contributes only 0.08% of the total global mercury releases to air and water combined. Although mercury releases from the industry are small, they should be managed appropriately and in accordance with local laws, regulations, and internationally accepted good practice.

IPIECA subsequently published guidance in 2014 on Mercury management in petroleum refining, encompassing environmental controls, worker health and safety, process safety, product safety, waste management and product stewardship. IPIECA continues to work with UNEP and its Global Mercury Partnership as they develop an overview document on mercury in oil and gas supply chains.

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