Environmental protection is an integral piece of the oil and gas industry, and is woven throughout everyday operations and procedures. The industry recognizes that high environmental standards and responsible development are good business, and demonstrates its commitment to protecting the environment by funding research and technology investments, implementing rigorous policies and practices, and participating in a wide variety of voluntary environmental programs. The oil industry’s use of smarter, more efficient technology complements these trends. New technology has provided:


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More efficient recovery of oil and gas resources, allowing fewer wells to be drilled while achieving the same level of oil and gas production Reduced environmental footprint through the use of smaller, lighter rigs and directional drilling techniques. Ice roads and ice pads on Alaska’s North Slope have significantly reduced the impacts of drilling on tundra Cleaner, safer operations with emissions reductions, near elimination of spills from offshore platforms, lowered risk of incidents, and better protection of ground water resources


SpillPrevention Operators take great care to prevent and prepare for oil spills. Every spill, even a single drop on water or tundra, is reportable to regulators and must be cleaned up by the responsible party. All companies that intend to engage in oil and gas exploration, development, production, or pipeline transport activities are required by federal and state regulations to: 1) have current contingency plans in place 2) have spill response equipment available and 3) test plans and equipment regularly. The cost for each operator to purchase and maintain equipment and carry out oil spill response drills ranges from $1.8 million to $8 million annually.


RegulatoryAgenciesPermitting More than 22 different federal, state, and local agencies regulate the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS). Operators of TAPS have to file permits with each agency and meet rigorous safety and environmental standards. Additionally, operators typically must obtain 20 permits before beginning development. It takes an average of 3-5 years to research and plan operations and file all of the necessary permits before actual work can begin.


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SOURCES Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation
Alyeska TAPS Fact Book
AOGA Permitting Framework