Intertek, a Total Quality Assurance provider to industries worldwide, announces that its Energy & Water experts have been appointed by the UK’s Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) to undertake a study of potential impacts associated with rock dumping during the decommissioning of oil and gas infrastructure on mobile sandbanks.
The study will focus on the North Sea’s North Norfolk and Saturn Reef Candidate Special Area of Conservation (cSAC) and Site of Community Importance (SCI), which include a series of ten main sandbanks and associated fragmented smaller banks formed as a result of tidal processes as well as biogenic (Sabelaria spinulosa) reefs.
Intertek Energy & Water will use its extensive knowledge of the physical and biological environment of the North Sea, gained from 30 years working on marine and coastal infrastructure projects, to deliver this study for JNCC. The study will compare typical sediment profiles and characteristics associated with oil and gas rock dumping operations, with those within North Norfolk and Saturn Reef cSAC/ SCI. It will also assess the potential physical impacts that rock dumping, associated with oil and gas decommissioning, may have on mobile sandbanks and their biological communities, taking into account their size and natural variability.
Improving the understanding of how decommissioning operations can affect these features will help ensure that protected sites such as these reach favorable condition and are able to maximize their contribution to the marine protected area network. Improving understanding will also enable more accurate advice to regulators and other interested parties, will support site specific and national impact assessments, and allow competent authorities to undertake a more robust decision-making process.
Beth Monkman, Head of Environment at Intertek Energy & Water, said: “Intertek is delighted to conduct this important study for JNCC to assist industry, regulators and Statutory Nature Conservation Bodies in the decision-making process related to impact assessment of offshore decommissioning operations’.
Karen Hall, Head of Offshore Industries Advice at JNCC added: “JNCC are pleased to select Intertek to complete this important study and we look forward to working with them on this project.”
Intertek is a well-established provider of the vital services needed by the fast-developing decommissioning industry to ensure that the risks associated with decommissioning projects are identified early, mitigated and appropriately managed. These services range from engineering and sea bed surveys to waste and corrosion management, material testing, certification, specialist secondment, environmental assurance and inventories and data management.