Safety and environmental protection are issues of primary concern, and the Croatian experience in the northern Adriatic confirms that all economic sectors can co-exist, as seen over the past forty years of intensive hydrocarbon exploration and production. This project has been designed so as to enable sustainable development, including the exploration and production of hydrocarbons using the highest technological standards to ensure preservation of the environment. The raw materials have been exploited in a long-term sustainable manner, in correlation with consumption, thus ensuring the availability of energy sources and the development of direct and indirect industry.

What will happen when platforms are installed in the Adriatic and when drilling starts? How will safety and environmental protection be implemented in practice?

Before discussing drilling activities, several things require clarification:

  • the control mechanism of drilling wells is an automated system for the early detection of an increase or decrease in pressure within the well, which ensures an immediate response and well closure,
  • blowout prevention devices that protect the wellhead, which have been tested and are inspected on a daily basis in order to ensure safety,
  • all equipment used in drilling wells must be tested in accordance with high standards and good oilfield practice, ensuring maximum safety during drilling.

During the drilling process, the platform decks are equipped with a system for collecting rainwater off the deck, in order to prevent contaminated rainwater runoff into the sea. The fluids collected in this manner involve special containers, which means that those fluids are safely disposed of and this completely excludes pollution. The entire well drilling process is managed under the continuous prevention of dangerous situations and is subject to constant supervision in order to intervene in the shortest possible time.

All impact analyses and tests carried out in the Adriatic Sea so far have shown that platforms do not adversely affect the environment. The entire technological process takes place in a closed system.

Safety of people and the environment in all global companies, including the oil industry, is a matter of high importance and is one of the most important and key business segments. Everyone knows the saying "better safe than sorry". Investments in this segment ensure the security of operations, and companies need not fear damages, remediation and compensation payments worth millions.

However, regardless of the high standards set up by the companies, in June 2013 the EU adopted Directive 2013/30/EC on the safety of offshore oil and gas operations. The main objective of the Directive is to ensure the implementation of exploration and production of hydrocarbons at sea, while also complying with the highest standards of safety, health and the environment. Under these new rules, the implementation of the highest safety standards is mandatory on all oil and gas platforms across Europe. The new legislation sets clear rules covering all activities relating to the exploration and production of hydrocarbons, such as the criteria for licensing, control of platforms, control mechanisms of the equipment and processes, etc. The Directive also provides and prescribes rules for action should an incident occur, provided that those rules facilitate in minimizing possible environmental damage.

To summarize, activities cannot begin if all necessary resources for a rapid response and accident prevention have not been secured. Should damage actually occur, all the costs of the damage and remediation are borne by the investor,

New Safety Offshore Act has been adopted. The provisions of Directive 2013/30/EC on the safety of offshore oil and gas operations have been fully transposed into this Act.

Safety offshore act

Željka Rukavina