Environmental Risk Management System (ERMS)

The overall objective of this program is to develop an environmental risk-based decision supporting tool, in order for the oil industry to establish cost-effective mitigation measures for reducing potential harmful discharges of the offshore oil and gas industry to the marine environment.

ERMS (Environmental Risk Management System) was a 4-year research program initiated by the oil industry.

Following the Norwegian authorities’ requirements in 1997 of “zero discharges to sea” within the end of 2005, the operating companies on the Norwegian shelf initiated the development of a modelling tool used for guidance of management decisions for reduction of potential harmful environmental effects associated with produced water discharges. This effort was embodied in the DREAM (Dose-related Risk and Effect Assessment Model) project, from which the Environmental Impact Factor for produced water (EIFPW) was developed.

Together with the industry, IMARES developed an Environmental Impact Factor for produced water (EIFPW). The calculations are based on internationally agreed procedures for hazard and risk assessment, as defined by the European Union. It includes ratios comparing the Predicted Environmental Concentration of a pollutant with the predicted environmental tolerance level or the concentration below which the likelihood of adverse effects in the environment is considered to be acceptable. A three-dimensional, time variable concentration field was modelled for each of the produced water compound groups as input to the calculations and EIFPW determination. The approach has proven to be very useful in decision-making on implementation of produced water treatment techniques and the use of offshore chemicals and represents the state of the art in risk assessment tools. Consequently an EIF for drilling discharges was developed as well, to evaluate the overall risk of both toxic and non-toxic stressors.